The failure to get and maintain a solid enough erection for sex is referred to as erectile dysfunction (impotence). Having erection issues now and then isn’t really a cause for alarm. However, if erectile dysfunction is a long-term concern, it can cause depression, lower self-esteem, and lead to relationship issues. Problems obtaining or maintaining an erection may be a symptom of a more serious underlying health condition, as well as a risk factor for heart disease.
Occasional erectile dysfunction isn’t uncommon. It’s something that a lot of men go through when they’re under a lot of pressure. Erectile dysfunction, on the other hand, may be a symptom of underlying health issues that need medical attention. It may also be a symptom of mental or intimacy problems that need professional attention. Speak to the doctor if you’re worried about erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction may also be reversed easily by treating the underlying disorder. In certain cases, prescriptions or other forms of direct therapy are needed.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
The brain, hormones, impulses, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels all play a role in male sexual arousal. An issue with any of these will cause erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction may also be caused or worsened by depression and mental health issues. Erectile dysfunction may be caused by a variety of physical and psychological problems. Anxiety over sustaining an erection, for example, could be caused by a mild physical disorder that delays the sexual reaction. Erectile dysfunction may be caused or worsened by the fear that results. Causes of erectile dysfunction can be grouped into physical and psychological causes.
Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is often triggered by physical problems. Common causes include:
- Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Certain prescription medications
- Tobacco use
- Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
- Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
- Sleep disorders
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
- Low testosterone
- Heart disease
- Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Starting with feelings of sexual arousal, the brain plays a crucial role in initiating the sequence of physical events that lead to an erection. Erectile dysfunction may be caused or worsened by a variety of factors that conflict with sexual feelings. These include:
- Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns
- Depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions
Signs and Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
Signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction may involve frequent:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Reduced sexual desire
Risk Factors of Erectile Dysfunction
Erections may take longer to form and are less firm as men grow older. In certain situations, a direct contact to the penis is needed to achieve and maintain an erection. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a number of reasons, including:
- Injury to the nerves or arteries that regulate erections, particularly if they are impaired.
- Medications for high blood pressure, pain, and prostate disorders, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and other antidepressants, antihistamines, and other antidepressants.
- Stress, anxiety, and depression and other psychological disorders.
- Drug and alcohol abuse, particularly among long-term users and heavy drinkers
- Diabetes and heart disease or other related medical conditions.
- Nicotine use, which reduces blood flow to veins and lungs, can lead to lifelong health issues, including erectile dysfunction, over time.
- Being overweight, especially obesity
- Certain surgical operations, such as prostate surgery or cancer radiation therapy
Complications associated with Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction can lead to a number of complications:
- Relationship problems
- The inability to get your partner pregnant
- An unsatisfactory sex life
- Stress or anxiety
- Embarrassment or low self-esteem
Prevention of Erectile Dysfunction
Making healthier lifestyle decisions and managing some underlying health problems are the easiest ways to avoid erectile dysfunction. For example:
- Exercise on a regular basis.
- Take action to reduce stress levels.
- Get assistance if you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
- Manage diabetes, heart disease, or other underlying health problems with the help of a doctor.
- Routine checkups and diagnostic screening examinations should be scheduled by the doctor.
- Stop smoking, drink in moderation or not at all, and don’t engage with illicit narcotics.
Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction
For certain people, a doctor may diagnose erectile dysfunction and prescribe therapy based on a physical test and answers to questions (medical history). If you have a serious health problem or your doctor thinks an underlying condition is at play, you will require further scans or a specialist consultation.
A variety of tests for underlying symptoms may be performed:
- Physical Examination: This can include a thorough inspection of your penis and testicles, as well as a test of your nerves for sensation.
- Psychological Examination: Your doctor might ask some questions to see if you’re stressed or if there are any other psychological reasons for erectile dysfunction.
- Blood Tests: A blood sample can be taken to a hospital to screen for symptoms of heart disease, diabetes, reduced testosterone levels, and other health issues.
- Urine Tests (Urinalysis): Urine scans, including blood checks, are used to check for symptoms of diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
- Ultrasound: This examination is normally done in a hospital by a physician. It entails holding a wand-like instrument (transducer) over the blood vessels supplying the penis. It generates a video clip that your doctor will use to determine whether you have blood flow issues. This test is often combined with a drug injection into the penis to increase blood pressure and induce an erection.
Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
There are a variety of treatment choices available depending on the cause and severity of the erectile dysfunction, as well as any underlying health problems. Most health providers will clarify the costs and benefits of each procedure and will take your needs into account. Your care decisions can also be influenced by your partner’s expectations.
For certain men, oral medications are an effective erectile dysfunction therapy. Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis), Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), and Avanafil (Stendra) are only a few of them All four drugs boost the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical produced by the body that relaxes penis muscles. In response to sexual arousal, this stimulates blood supply, resulting in an erection.
Taking one of these pills does not guarantee that you can have an erection. To induce the release of nitric oxide from your penile nerves, sexual stimulation is needed first. This drugs enhance the signal, causing certain people to have natural penile activity. Oral erectile dysfunction drugs are not aphrodisiacs, do not induce arousal, and are unnecessary for men who have regular erections.
The dosage, duration of action, and side effects of the drugs differ. Flushing, nasal congestion, fever, facial changes, backache, and stomach upset are also potential side effects.
Get advice from a licensed health practitioner before taking any erectile dysfunction medication, including over-the-counter supplements and herbal remedies. Erectile dysfunction medications do not prescribe on all and can be less effective under some circumstances, such as after prostate surgery or in patients with diabetes. Any medications, for example, can be unsafe:
- Have heart disease or heart failure
- Have very low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Take nitrate drugs — commonly prescribed for chest pain (angina) — such as nitroglycerin (Nitro-Dur, Nitrostat, others), isosorbide mononitrate (Monoket) and isosorbide dinitrate (Dilatrate-SR, Isordil, Bidil)
Other Medications for Erectile Dysfunction
Some erectile dysfunction drugs include:
- Alprostadil Self-injection: This procedure involves injecting alprostadil (Caverject, Edex) into the base or side of the penis using a fine needle. In certain cases, drugs prescribed for other diseases are used alone or in conjunction for penile injections. Alprostadil and phentolamine are two examples. These combination drugs are sometimes referred to as bimix (if two medications are included) or trimix (if three medications are included).
- Alprostadil Urethral Suppository: Intraurethral treatment for alprostadil (Muse) entails inserting a small alprostadil suppository into the penile urethra. The suppository is inserted into the penile urethra using a special applicator.
- Testosterone Replacement: Some men suffer from erectile dysfunction, which can be exacerbated by low testosterone levels. In this case, testosterone replacement therapy can be prescribed as a first phase or in addition with other medications.
Penis Pumps, Surgery and Implants
- Penis Pumps: A penis pump (vacuum erection device) is a hollow tube with a pump that can be operated by hand or battery. The tubing is inserted over the penis, and the air inside the tube is sucked out with the pump. A vacuum is created, which draws blood into your penis. After achieving an erection, a compression band is slipped around the base of the penis to secure the blood in and the erection firm. After that, the vacuum device is removed. Usually, the erection lasts long enough for a couple to have sex. After intercourse, the tension ring is removed.
- Penile Implants: Modules are surgically implanted onto both sides of the penis in this procedure. Inflatable or malleable (bendable) rods are used in these implants. Individuals will monitor when and how long they get an erection with inflatable devices. The penis would be strong but bendable thanks to the malleable rods. Penile implants are rarely prescribed until all options have been exhausted. Many who have attempted and failed more conservative treatments report a high level of satisfaction with implants.
Dietary Management of Erectile Dysfunction
Blood flow issues are often linked to erectile dysfunction. Maintaining the health of the blood vessels will help you avoid and cure erectile dysfunction. This can be accomplished by adopting such lifestyle habits, such as consuming a nutritious diet. To better reduce the chances of developing erectile dysfunction, take these basic steps:
- Eat whole grains, vegetables, and fruits as much as possible.
- Red meat, full-fat dairy, and refined sugars should all be avoided as much as possible.
- Alcohol should be avoided as much as possible or used in moderation.
- Eat foods such as cocoa and watermelon, have been found to assist in erection maintenance.