The most common sex problem that men report to their doctor is erectile dysfunction. Erection problems (impotence) are very common in men over 40. About 30 million men suffer from ED.
Many men experience it during times of stress. Occasional erectile dysfunction isn’t uncommon among men. But it surely affects a man’s sexual life and mental health.
What is Erectile Dysfunction (impotence)?
Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is a form of sexual dysfunction. It causes the failure to produce or sustain a penis erection during sexual intercourse.
Sometimes failure to maintain a proper erection of the penis can happen. But if it happens persistently for at least 3 months, then such a situation is called ED. And it needs medical attention.
ED Can Be A Short-term Or Long-term Problem. You’ve Got Ed If:
- You can get an erection, but not every time you want to have sex.
- Experiencing an erection that doesn’t last long enough for having satisfactory sex.
- You are not able to get an erection at any time.
Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms Include Persistent:
- Trouble having an erection
- Problem to keep an erection
- Reduced desire for sex
What Are The Reasons Behind Erectile Dysfunction?
Male sexual stimulation is a dynamic process. It involves the brain, hormones, feelings, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. ED can occur from a problem with any of these. Stress and mental health issues can cause or worsen ED.
1. Physical Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction
A physical cause is present in about 80% of cases. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological problems, and drug side effects.
Increasing blood flow in the penis is responsible for an erection. So, the main reasons for erectile dysfunction are related to blood circulation and blood pressure.
The Followings Are The Physical Reasons Behind ED:
- ED is four times more common in men aged in their 60s than those in their 40s.
- There isn’t enough blood supply to the penis.
- The penis cannot hold blood during an erection.
- The brain or spinal cord impulses cannot reach the penis.
- Diabetes may cause small vascular disease or nerve damage to the penis.
- Production of scar tissue within the penis (Peyronie’s disease)
- Obesity, extra weight
- Parkinson’s disease
- Heavy smoking (use of tobacco)
- Sleep problems (trouble having a sound sleep regularly)
- The side effect of prescription medicines
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Abuse of drugs
- Treatments for cancer of the prostate or swollen prostate
- Surgery or accident involving the pelvic region or the spinal cord
- Low testosterone levels
2. Psychological (Emotional) Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction
Psychological impotence is when erection or penetration fails due to thoughts or feelings. It is much less common, occurring only in around 10 % of cases.
It’s more likely to be an emotional problem if you’ve only ever had erection issues. For example, you get an erection when you wake up in the morning, but not during sexual activity.
Often a mixture of physical and psychological disorders causes erectile dysfunction. For example, a minor physical condition that slows down your sexual response can cause anxiety about maintaining an erection. The resulting anxiety can contribute to or worsen erectile dysfunction.
So These Are The Psychological Reasons Behind ED:
- Stress at home or work
- Relationship conflicts
- Worry about sex performance
Diagnosis Of ED
A doctor, such as a urologist, will diagnose erectile dysfunction. It could be difficult for you to speak to a health care provider about ED. But note, healthy sex life is part of a healthy life. The more your doctor learns about you, the more likely he or she is to cure your illness better.
The Diagnosis Of ED Includes:
- Medical and sexual history. It includes your sexual health problems, lifestyle, drugs you take, your smoking habit, or how much alcohol you drink.
- Mental health and physical exam. Your doctor will check your penis and testicles to ensure they look normal, and their nerves work as expected. Your doctor will also ask about your mental health condition.
- Ultrasonography (Penile). It helps to examine the penis in the erected state to check if there any tumors.
- Penile nerves function tests. It determines if there is sufficient nerve sensation in the penis.
- Penile biothesiometry test. This test uses electromagnetic vibration to evaluate sensitivity and nerve function in the glans and shaft of the penis.
- Nocturnal erection test. It helps to confirm that you experience erections at night. Men having a normal physiological erectile function experience an erection during normal sleep. This test determines if physical problems cause your ED.
- Injection test. In such a test, medicine is injected into your penis base that should give you an erection. If you don’t get an erection, you may have a problem with blood flow to your penis.
Treatment For Erection Problems Depends On The Cause. The Followings Are The Treatments Of ED:
- Erectile Dysfunction Drugs: On March 27, 1998, the Food And Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Viagra. It is an oral medication that treats impotence. Sildenafil and Tadalafil are the most commonly prescribed medications to treat ED.
- Psychotherapy: The therapy is for addressing ED, especially related to performance anxiety, low self-esteem, and loss of sexual arousal. This therapy helps you change the way you think and behave. Sexual counseling is the most important part of treatment for patients with ED.
- Penile Injections: The doctor injects it directly into the penis side, which produces an erection. The medication allows blood to flow in the penis. Anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes after injection, an erection occurs.
- Vacuum Constriction Devices: A vacuum erection device helps draw blood into the penis by applying negative pressure. The device is referred to as a penis pump.
- Testosterone Therapy: If low testosterone is present in blood testing, testosterone hormone is used to treat ED.
- Surgery: As the last resort if other treatments have failed, the most common procedure is prosthetic implants, which involve the insertion of artificial rods into the penis.
Busting Some Myths about Erectile Dysfunction
“ED only affects men who are older” is a myth because it can happen to men of any age.
“It is a normal consequence of being aged” is a common myth. Because ED can also result from an underlying medical condition.
“Impotence or ED is not dangerous” is a myth. Because it could be a sign of a more serious health problem.
“Sexual enhancement drugs are the best way to treat ED” is a myth as these drugs cannot address and treat psychological issues.
Who’s At Risk For Erectile Dysfunction?
You Could Be At Higher Risk For ED If You:
- Are getting radiation treatment for cancer
- Taking drugs such as antihistamines, drugs for elevated blood pressure, or antidepressants
- Have an injury that could damage the nerves or arteries that lead to the erection.
Things You Can Do To Help With ED
Sometimes A Healthy Lifestyle Can Help You with Erectile Dysfunction Problems. To Prevent ED, You Can Do These:
- Be physically active
- Lose weight if you’re overweight
- Stop smoking
- Don’t exceed drinking more than 14 units of alcohol in a week.
- Eat a healthy diet
- Don’t use illegal drugs.
- Exercise daily
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Lead a healthy life
- Don’t cycle for a while (if you cycle for more than 3 hours a week)
Can Erectile Dysfunction Be Cured?
In certain cases, indeed, the cure for erectile dysfunction is possible. Those who have underlying medical problems should see a doctor regularly.
Research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found a remission rate of 29 percent after five years. It is important to remember that the healing of ED is difficult. But proper care can minimize or remove symptoms.
Men should always be cautious about their wellbeing. ED also affects the emotional well-being of both men and their partners. Many men do not seek care because of shame. Approximately 75% of the cases of ED diagnosed go untreated. So for a better, happier sexual life to see a doctor for ED care, it’s certainly worth a shot!