What is erectile dysfunction (ED) and how does it affect men? What are the symptoms and causes of ED? And when should you go and see a doctor?
These are just some of the questions that over 30 million American men have to ask themselves. So let’s take this time to talk about the risk of ED to your sexual performance and the underlying health problems it possibly represents.
What Causes an Erection?
When do men get an erection? When there’s male sexual arousal, there’s an increase of blood pressure to the penis’ muscle tissue called corpus cavernosum. These are two chambers in the penis that trap blood which causes an erection.
And when a man reaches an orgasm, the penis receives nerve signals which then releases the trapped blood back into the blood vessels that put an end to the erection.
The Inability to Achieve an Erection
Men with ED are unable to get or keep an erection firm enough for sex. This happens when there’s not enough blood flow to the penis. Studies show that 52% of men experience some form of ED.
However, just because you’re having trouble keeping an erection does not mean you suffer from erectile dysfunction. There are times when drinking too much alcohol, having low self-esteem, performance anxiety, and relationship problems can temporarily result in an inability to get your penis hard.
You should only get concerned when you constantly encounter male sexual dysfunction as this could be triggered by medical conditions. In which case, it would be wise to seek medical advice from a men’s health medical professional for proper treatment.
What Causes ED (Erectile Dysfunction)?
There are different causes of erectile dysfunction. Having heart disease can lead to ED. There are also links between diabetes and digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with ED. Diabetes, in particular, causes nerve damage which restricts blood flow to the penis.
So if your family’s medical history includes diabetes and your erectile function isn’t what it used to be, you should go to a doctor and undergo a physical examination to see if diabetes is what’s causing your problem. The doctor can then recommend treatment options so you can have a satisfying sex life again.
You can confirm if you have diabetes through blood tests.
What else can cause ED? Some prescription drugs like those used for high blood pressure and depression can contribute to ED.
How to Treat Symptoms of ED
While health conditions can affect sexual intercourse, there are ways to treat ED. Commonly used drugs used to treat ED include:
- Vardenafil (Levitra)
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
- Tadalafil (Cialis)
But it doesn’t even have to be drugs. You can take dietary supplements. Surgical treatment is also an option. This procedure will involve a penile implant (bendable or inflatable) which the user can control when they’re ready to engage in sex. Inflatable penile implants have little to no effect on the sensation.
Like any kind of operation, there are risk factors involved when you opt for surgical treatment. But keep in mind that penile vascular surgery has a high success rate. Always consult a medical professional prior to engaging in any supplements or treatments.
Treatment for Psychological Causes of ED
If you feel like the cause of your penis not getting hard is due to a psychological issue and not an underlying disease, then you should still consult a doctor for appropriate treatment. A doctor can recommend you to a specialist that deals with men’s health.
The specialist can recommend drugs that would be a right fit for your specific situation.
Of course, you can also try talking to your partner and discussing potential reasons why you could be having a hard time getting an erection. You both could try spicing things up in the bedroom by introducing role-playing, engaging in foreplay, or trying out new positions.
Exercises for Erectile Dysfunction
Kegel exercises are beneficial for engaging the pelvic area which affects your ability to get erect. There’s little to no risk factor involved and they don’t take up too much time.
If you’re on the heavier side, you might want to consider aerobic exercises as well. Your body fat level has an impact on low testosterone levels. This means that if you exercise regularly, you’re likely to increase your testosterone.
If you’re not into aerobics, you can also try yoga. Since yoga reduces stress, it can dramatically improve your health and sex life.
Foods for Erectile Dysfunction
Changing your diet can also treat your ED. Try eating more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Don’t eat too much red meat, processed sugars, and full-fat dairy.
And if you enjoy drinking alcohol, you’re going to want to cut back because alcohol can prevent you from having an erection.
Tests for Erectile Dysfunction
When you go to a doctor for ED, you’re going to answer a few questions so that the doctor can assess the severity of your situation. These questions include how frequently your ED happens, how long it’s been happening, the firmness of your erections, your drinking and smoking habits (if relevant), and more.
And if needed, the doctor can also order an ultrasound, a nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) test, urine and blood tests, and injection tests.
If the doctor thinks that your ED is due to an underlying disease, then you’ll get tests to check for those as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main cause of erectile dysfunction?
The main cause of erectile dysfunction is the lack of blood flow to the penis. Sometimes, psychological factors come into play like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How do you know you have erectile dysfunction?
You likely would benefit from erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment if you’re unable to get or maintain an erection during sex. Not being interested in sex can also be a symptom of ED.
How do you fix erectile dysfunction?
For serious cases, there are drugs and medical procedures that you can consider. A lifestyle change can also treat symptoms. It’s best to consult a doctor to see which remedy is better for your situation.
What is erectile dysfunction in simple words?
Erectile dysfunction is when you can’t get your penis hard enough to have sex. Note that there are differences between erectile dysfunction and impotence.
If you’re having issues with erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation (PE), call the team at Prestige Men’s Medical Center now to schedule an appointment to have a consultation with their experienced and specially trained medical staff. We are Tampa’s leading men’s clinic providing ED therapy, PE therapy, hormone therapy, and much more.