Inability to get and keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse is referred to as erectile dysfunction (ED). It is also called impotence. ED is the most common sexual problem affecting millions of men around the world. If not prevented or untreated it may cause many emotional and relationship problems.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
While sex is an enjoyable act and a stress reliever, ED can make sex a stressful task for people with depression, stress, fatigue, and sleep disorders. There are several other possible physical, medical, and emotional causes for ED. The following are some of the possible causes:
- Atherosclerosis or clogged blood vessels
- Low testosterone levels
- Cardiovascular disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Obesity or overweight
- Relationship problems
- Drug use
- Alcohol use
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction
The following symptoms persist for more than three months if you have erectile dysfunction:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Difficulty maintaining an erection during sexual activities
- Loss of libido (losing interest in sex)
Consult your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms lasting for more than more months. Your doctor will find out the underlying cause by appropriate diagnostic technique and formulate the required treatment plan.
Diagnosis of erectile dysfunction
Once you consult a doctor, he will ask you to explain your symptoms and your medical history. He/she will conduct physical exam including testicles and penis. The doctor will also check your prostate by digital rectal exam. The doctor will carry out some blood, urine, and other tests to determine if your symptoms are caused by low testosterone, diabetes, heart problems, or other underlying causes.
The doctor may conduct nocturnal penile tumescence test (NPT) or ‘postage stamp test to establish the quality of your nocturnal erections. Nocturnal erections are penile erections that occur while you are sleeping.
Lifestyle changes can prevent erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction can possibly be prevented by avoiding some bad habits and opting for a healthy lifestyle. ED is many times related to problems with your blood flow, so maintaining your blood vessel health through exercise and a healthy diet may help reduce your risk for ED.
- Regular exercise
- Nutritious and balanced diet
- Maintain a low blood pressure
- Control obesity if you are overweight
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Reduce your stress and anxiety
Treatments for erectile dysfunction
There are many treatments available for erectile dysfunction and most men will find an appropriate treatment option to help them. The following are the treatments available:
- Oral medication
- Topical medication
- Injected medication
- Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
- Penis pump
- Penile implants
- Vascular surgery
The purpose of this informational article is to let all men know that erectile dysfunction is a treatable medical condition. Don’t feel embarrassed or shy to discuss your problem with a doctor, as most doctors know how to make you comfortable while discussing your problem. Go ahead and get appropriate treatment to solve your problem.