Erectile Dysfunction 101
Men who left their erectile dysfunction untreated suffer from a difficult sex life.
Erectile dysfunction is sometimes referred to as impotence, and it affects around 15-30 million men in the US alone.
Erectile dysfunction awareness has grown, thanks to the advent of modern approaches to its treatment.
Poor Libido Is Not Erectile Dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction comes in various forms. Poor libido is different from erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction refers to the difficulty in achieving or keeping an erection, but the term should not be used to refer to problems in ejaculation or lack of sexual urge. As a matter of fact, men who suffer from erectile dysfunction often have no problem with their libido. Erectile dysfunction is sometimes due to physiological problems.
What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?
These following symptoms may manifest every sexual encounter or in some cases only.
- Soft erections
- Brief erections
- No erection at all
Who Are Prone to Erectile Dysfunction?
Men become more prone to erectile dysfunction as they become older, although erectile dysfunction is not necessarily an inevitable part of aging. Five percent of men who reach 40 develop erectile dysfunction. The figure is between 15% and 25% when men reach 65. Although erectile dysfunction is more common in older population, it can be reversed at any point in life.
The Nature of Erectile Dysfunction
Men experience erection when blood accumulates at corpora cavernosa, resulting to the enlargement and stiffening of the penis, just like when a balloon is filled with fluid. This process is regulated by brain signals and genital nerve impulses. Erectile dysfunction results when these impulses were blocked.
What Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Some medications can cause erectile dysfunction, such as tranquilizers, blood pressure drugs, antihistamines and antidepressants. Those who think that their medications are affecting their sexual performance should consult their doctor.
People with diabetes are quite prone to develop erectile dysfunction. Around one out of ten male diabetic patients develop erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease and stiffening of arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis. These chronic ailments can block nerve signals and blood flow.
Surgical procedures, like those intended to treat cancer of the bladder or prostate, can lead to genital nerve damage. In worst cases, the patients suffer from permanent nerve damage. This requires intensive treatment to restore erection. Sometimes, erectile dysfunction arising from surgical complications is only temporary, healing on its own in 6 to 18 months.
Blood circulation can also be impaired by certain lifestyles like excessive drinking, smoking and substance abuse. Those who suffer from atherosclerosis get more prone to erectile dysfunction when they smoke. People who are obese and physically inactive have also higher risk to develop erectile dysfunction.
Psychological health can be the culprit behind erectile dysfunction, especially among older men. Poor psychological health could be responsible for 10% to 20% of erectile dysfunction cases. Erectile dysfunction can result from depression, stress, performance anxiety and poor self-esteem.
Researchers found out that cyclists are more prone to erectile dysfunction. This can be attributed to the shape of bicycle seat, which stresses the perineum, the area between the scrotum and anus. The nerves and arteries responsible for erection are found in this area.
How Is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask if you are suffering from certain symptoms. Your medical history will also be analyzed. Part of the diagnostic procedure is a thorough physical exam to spot signs like nerve problems and poor blood circulation.
Sexual dysfunction can be diagnosed through certain lab tests. A testosterone level that is below the normal range suggests hormonal imbalance, which is associated with lower libido. Conditions that may be responsible for erectile dysfunction can be detected by checking blood cell counts, cholesterol levels, and liver function.
Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of a serious heart disease. A study conducted in 2010 revealed that erectile dysfunction suggests high risk of heart attack, fatal cardiovascular disease and stroke. All men who are suffering from erectile dysfunction should be tested for cardiovascular disease, the researchers suggested.
How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
Changing lifestyles can improve the sexual performance of men with erectile dysfunction. To improve blood flow, avoid smoking, control your weight, and exercise regularly. If you think that certain medication is causing your erectile dysfunction, consult your physician for alternative medicine. Your doctor may also prescribe a lower dosage if that’s the case.
Although pills are convenient erectile dysfunction treatment, your doctor may prescribe injections to enable you to maintain stronger erections. These injections widen blood vessels, thus bringing more blood to the penis. There are also medical pellets that can be inserted into the urethra, triggering erection in 10 minutes.
Viagra is not the only solution to erectile dysfunction. Other erectile dysfunction medicines include Levitra, Cialis and Staxyn, which increase the flow of blood to the penis during sex. There are side effects just like most drugs.<MaleExtra, VigRX Plus and ProSolution.
Persistent erectile dysfunction can also be treated by implants, which are inflatable. This approach involves the use of cylinders, which are placed inside the penis. Men who had this procedure need to work on a pump to inflate the cylinders with fluid. There is also a malleable implant in the form of rod.
Vacuum Devices (Pumps)
Vacuum devices for treating erectile dysfunction are used along with cylinder. The penis is inserted into a cylinder and the pump removes the air inside. The vacuum space causes the penis to be filled with blood, thus enabling erection. There is an elastic band placed around the lower part of the penis to keep it erected during sex.
There are men nowadays who uses stretchers to beat premature ejaculations.
Blood flow can be restored through surgery by removing the blockage in the affected artery. Those who undergo this procedure are usually young men who suffered from artery blockage following an accident or injury to pelvis or crotch. However, older men who are suffering from more prevalent narrowing of arteries are not advised to undergo this procedure.
Psychotherapy can be beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction, although the cause of this condition is mainly physical in nature. Psychotherapy for erectile dysfunction may include the teaching of techniques in dealing with performance anxiety and improving intimacy, as well as techniques on how to be at ease in using vacuum devices and implants.
How to Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
- Exercise regularly and maintain a normal body weight.
- Do not smoke.
- Do not drink alcohol and take drugs.
- Manage your diabetes properly.
How to Deal With Your Partner
It’s understandable for men to feel embarrassed or angry when dealing with their sexual dysfunction. But keep in mind that your partner is also suffering as a result of your erectile dysfunction. Being open to your partner about your health condition will reassure her that you are still interested to her as a sex partner.