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What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

by Dr Prem Community Writer
erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED, is an extremely common, affecting around 50% of all men aged 40 to 70. The good news about ED is that it’s often brought on by very specific, treatable causes. There are also long lists of ways to successfully treat erectile dysfunction and help men return to the active, healthy sex life they desire.

Erection problem

Erectile dysfunction is simply defined as difficulty getting and maintaining an erection. Without proper blood flow to the penis, a man cannot achieve an erection. Underlying health issues that negatively affect the blood vessels and nerves surrounding the penis can cause erectile dysfunction. Causes of ED aren’t always physical, though. Psychological and mental conditions can also make it difficult for a man to achieve and keep an erection. The inability to get an erection can happen due to stress, excessive alcohol consumption, illness, exhaustion, or other physical and mental conditions. A visit with a medical professional will help determine the reason for lack of erection.

It’s also important to note that there are three different causes for erections – reflexive, psychogenic and nocturnal. Reflexive erections happen due to physical stimulation of the penis or other parts of the body. Psychogenic erections are due to mental or visual stimuli and nocturnal erections occur during sleep. Any interruption in these types of erections can be attributed to erectile dysfunction.

A patient is diagnosed with having ED when the inability to get and keep an erection happens on numerous occasions, over an extended period of time, and interferes with sexual performance and the ability to climax. Once a man’s sexual relationships are becoming difficult or impossible due to a lack of erection, it’s time to seek professional help. The good news is, there are a long list of treatment options available.

Medications

Medications

One of the most common ways to treat ED is with medication. Some of the most common medications used for erectile dysfunction are Cialis, Viagra, and Stendra. Most medications will dictate how long prior to sexual activity they should be taken. Taking these medications does not mean that you will have an instant erection, but instead, that you should have no difficulty getting and maintaining an erection once aroused. You should take medication anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to when you plan on being sexually active. This varies from one medication to the next and the effects can last anywhere from several hours to as long as 36 hours with Cialis.

Consult with your doctor about which medication option is right for you. But, as with any medication, there are potential side effects and other medical factors to consider. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Headache/Dizziness
  • Congestion
  • Changes in vision
  • Digestive issues
  • Flushed skin
  • Body aches

If you experience any of these side effects, stop use of the medicine and contact a medical professional.

Lifestyle Changes

There are many real life stories of men suffering from ED. You may not need medication to treat your erectile dysfunction. Sometimes, life style changes are enough to combat the onset of ED. Some of these lifestyle changes are based on some of the causes of erectile dysfunction, like alcohol use and stress.

If you are overweight or obese, losing weight and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine can actually help with ED. This goes hand-in-hand with limiting tobacco use and cutting back on your alcohol intake. Both of these ingredients can negatively affect your body’s performance, including in the bedroom.

Lastly, if you lead an extremely stressful life, this can interfere with your ability to get and maintain an erection. An abundance of stress or anxiety can make it difficult for your brain to trigger a physical response. Excess stress can also cause other medical complications that may result in ED, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Stress can also complicate things for another reason. If a man is experiencing occasional or regular erectile dysfunction, they may feel stressed, nervous, or anxious over their inability to perform sexually. This stress can make it more difficult to achieve an erection. Stress and ED are sometimes a vicious cycle.

Other Options

If lifestyle changes or medication are not enough to combat erectile dysfunction, other treatment options are available.

Suppositories

Suppositories are inserted into the tip of the penis and can help men achieve erection. The drug that the suppository releases, helps expand the blood vessels and increase blood flow to the penis.

Injections

Injections

Not for the faint of heart, there are also injection treatments available. Prior to having sex, the man will inject medication (alprostadil) into the side of his penis. This medication has the same effect as the suppositories and will increase blood flow. Injections may be beneficial over time, as well, increasing potency and blood flow in the future.

Testosterone Therapy

If the doctor suspects that your ED is due to low-T or other issues with the testosterone hormone in your body, there are treatment options available. Testosterone replacement therapy is fairly common and can help boost low-T levels. This treatment can be done using pills, injections, or patches. Increased testosterone has other benefits including increased strength and muscle mass.

Surgery

surgery

If you want a more permanent fix than popping pills regularly or injecting yourself with medication, surgery is an option. ED surgery is not common nor recommended for most patients unless their erectile dysfunction was brought on by injury or damaged blood vessels. The surgery includes opening the arteries that allow blood flow to the penis.

Implants

Perhaps the most extreme way to address ED is to have penile implant surgery. This type of surgery doesn’t necessarily fix the underlying issues causing erectile dysfunction, but instead equip the patient with a permanent erection. Other options include a pump implanted underneath the scrotum skin. The man must manually press the pump, which then uses saline to inflate the cylinders in the penis, causing an erection. Like with any surgery there are complications involved and risk of the device failing over time.

You Are Not Alone

Couple

It’s important to remember that nearly half of the world’s male population experiences erectile dysfunction at one time or another. Although ED affects men in general, as per studies Submissive men are prone to develop this problem. That’s because of the wide range of causes from lifestyle choices to interference with other medications or simply, aging. But because it’s so common, the treatment options are endless. Consult your doctor if you suspect you’re suffering from ED and educate yourself on the best treatment plan for you.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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