What is erectile dysfunction?
Formerly known as impotence, erectile dysfunction (ED) refers to persistent inability to get an erection and difficulty in penetrating. Another symptom is that the erection time is not long enough to complete sexual activity. ED can have a significant impact on the sex life of men and their partners.
Many men experience erectile dysfunction intermittently, especially during periods of stress. However, if this is a recurring event, it may indicate a potential medical or emotional problem. This should be resolved by healthcare professionals.
An erection is due to increased blood flow to the penis. At any stage of the erection process, ED can occur as a problem. This may be related to problems with blood flow to the penis, nerve damage, or stressors and emotions.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction
The main symptom of ED is the inability to get or maintain an erection. This situation prevents you from engaging in or completing sexual activities.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is more common in older men, but it can occur at any age. The reasons for ED include:
- Atherosclerosis (atherosclerosis)
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- Alcohol or tobacco use
- Some prescription drugs
- Brain or spinal cord injury
- Low testosterone
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Testicular radiotherapy
- Certain types of prostate or bladder surgery
Erectile dysfunction may be an indicator of a bigger problem. This may be uncomfortable, but it is important to discuss it with your doctor. With the help of a doctor, you can find the cause of the problem by seeking treatment for your ED.
Some causes of erectile dysfunction may also be psychological:
- Feeling nervous about sex due to a bad experience of erectile dysfunction or anxiety
- Feeling stressed due to other factors such as work or family problems
- Feeling frustrated or overwhelmed
- Feeling uncomfortable with one’s body or performance
- Think your partner has a negative reaction to you
Diagnosis of erectile dysfunction
Your doctor will be able to diagnose the cause of your erectile dysfunction and determine the best treatment.
Hope your doctor asks about your overall health, checks your heart and blood pressure, and collects information about your erectile dysfunction. They may also draw blood for laboratory tests or refer you to a urologist.
Other tests that your doctor may use to assess your erectile dysfunction are:
- Ultrasound examination of penile blood vessels and blood flow
- Nocturnal swelling of the penis (NPT) test to assess the quality of your night erection
- Injection test, during which medicine is injected into your penis to stimulate your erection so that your doctor can see how long it lasts
- Urine test to check for diabetes or other underlying health conditions
Treatment of erectile dysfunction
The treatment of ED depends on the cause.
Heart and blood vessel health
Your doctor may also recommend that you improve your overall health, including the health of your heart and circulatory system. Increase the amount of exercise, eat well, and ensure that you get enough vitamins and minerals to help your overall health. Another suggestion might be to reduce or eliminate your use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol. Your doctor may also recommend weight loss.
Your doctor may recommend seeking some mental health support to reduce the impact of stress, depression, or anxiety on your ED. Seeking help from a mental health professional can help treat erectile dysfunction.
Other treatments for erectile dysfunction
There are many other options for treating ED, including medications, surgical options, injections, or vacuum devices:
- ED (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Stendra) usually prescribe oral drugs or pills
- Testosterone therapy (if blood test shows low testosterone levels)
- Penis injection (ICI, intracavernosal alprostadil)
- Intraurethral medication (IU, Alprostadil)
- Vacuum erection device
- Penile implants
- Penile artery injury bypass surgery is performed on some young men with a history of severe pelvic trauma (this surgery is not recommended for older men with arteriosclerosis).
Many men get relief from a combination of these treatments. Your doctor will help you decide the fastest and best way to treat erectile dysfunction.