What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction, also known as ED, is the inability to have or keep an erection. Though anyone may have trouble getting an erection occasionally, if a man is having a consistent pattern of difficulty sustaining an erection, he may have erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms include reduced sexual desire. Erectile dysfunction can impact sexual confidence as well as be a sign of other underlying heath risks. According to webmd.com, Erectile Dysfunction can impact men of any race and age, but does become more common as men age. While ED impacts only 12 percent of men under 60, about 22 percent of men in their 60s are impacted by ED.
What causes Erectile Dysfunction?
According to The Mayo Clinic, male sexual arousal involves different body systems, including: the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these body systems as well as a combination of them. Though the causes of erectile dysfunction are often physical, physical and psychological factors can combine to worsen symptoms. For example, the inability to get an erection can cause anxiety and stress, which further make it difficult to get an erection. Some physical causes of ED incude: heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clogged blood vessels, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, the use of certain prescription medications, and substance abuse. Some psychological causes of ED include: depression, anxiety, stress, and issues in the relationship.
Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction
According to the National Institute of Health, there are a variety of ways that ED can be diagnosed and treated by your doctor. To narrow down the root of the issue, your doctor may conduct a medical and sexual history, ask you questions about your mental health, give you a physical exam, test your blood, and administer a variety of tests, including a nighttime erection test or an penile ultrasound. Once the doctor is able to determine the underlying causes of Erectile Dysfunction, a treatment can be prescribed. Treatments can include medications, counseling, lifestyle changes, changing the medications you are on if they are contributing to the condition, peforming surgery to implant a device or to repair blood vessels, or prescribing a vaccum device. For more information on treatment of ED, please go to: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/erectile-dysfunction
- Work with your doctor to manage health conditions that may contribute to ED, such as diabetes or heart disease.
- Get regular medical check ups and know your health status.
- Avoid using drugs and alcohol.
- Quit smoking.
- Engage in regular exercise.
- Manage stress.
- Get treatment for depression, anxiety, and any other mental health issues.
Though some may be embarassed to bring up the topic of ED with their doctor, sexual health is critical to emotional and physical health. ED can be a sign of underlying health conditions that have not been diagnosed or are not being managed properly. ED can also be a sign of an unhealthy lifestyle that may lead to other health complications. Fortunately, there is support and treatment out there for Erectile Dysfunction.