About EDErectile Dysfunction (ED) also known as impotence refers to a man's inability to sustain natural erection required for sexual intercourse. Most of the men go through a brief period of erectile difficulties that are not necessarily anything to be worried about but though they create many difficulties in life. In case, the inability to reach or maintain erection persists for more than a few weeks or months, taking medical help is suggested. Erectile dysfunction can lead to various issues like stress, anxiety and loss of self-confidence, problems that can affect some relationships.
A substantial number of men suffering from erectile issues are generally embarrassed to talk to their doctors. Experts advise men with erectile problems to see doctor because not only the condition can often be effectively treated, but also because it may be a sign of an underlying health problem like diabetes, high blood pressure or a cardiovascular disease, some of which may be life-threatening.
If any underlying health problem is detected and treated effectively, erectile dysfunction may get cured too.
Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms
- Difficulty in achieving an erection
- Inability in sustaining an erection for longer time
- Lowered libido
- Achieving an erection only during masturbation and not while sexual intercourse
Erectile Dysfunction Causes
Four main types of physical causes are:
- Anatomical - there is some issue with the overall physical structure of penile
- Hormonal - hormone levels are not enough
- Neurogenic - the nervous system is affected which includes i.e. brain, nerves and spinal cord
- Vasculogenic - the blood flow to the penis is affected in inverse manner
Examples of physical causes may include:
- Alcohol intake
- Atherosclerosis (clogged blood vessels)
- Patients with diabetes
- Enlarged prostate treatment simultaneously carried out
- Heart disease
- Hypertension like high blood pressure
- Injuries to the pelvic area or spinal cord
- Hormonal problems like hypogonadism (low testosterone), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), Cushing's syndrome (production of cortisol is affected)
- Kidney diseases that are researched from California University's San Diego School of Medicine reported in British Journal of Urology that patients who undergo a total nephrectomy (complete removal of one kidney) have a considerably greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction or penile failure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson's disease
- Peyronie's disease (scar tissue inside the penis)
- Prolonged cycling, nerves that affect blood flow to the penis can become compressed, leading to various temporary issues. Special saddles for males can prevent this problem from occurring
- Prostate cancer treatment
- Bowel cancer treatment - a team of experts from the University of Birmingham, England, found that patients with bowel cancer run a high risk of developing erectile dysfunction after being treated. They added that most bowel cancer patients receive no advice on ED.
- Smoking - damages blood vessels that undermine blood flow to the penis.
- Some prescription drugs may include some diuretics, antihypertensives, fibrates, antipsychotics, antidepressants, corticosteroids, antihistamines and anti-androgens. Scientists from Kaiser Permanente wrote in the British Journal of Urology International that more medications a patient is taking, the higher is his risk of developing erectile dysfunction or other penile issues. They added that ED severity risk is also associated with the number of medications the man is taking.
- Substance abuse
- Surgery in the pelvic area or spinal that of cord
Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction
- Excessive stress
- Ultimate depression
- General fatigue
- Relationship problems
Erectile dysfunction is not an inevitable part of ageing. It is usually linked to something else, such as a health condition. Many of these conditions come with age, but age itself does not cause ED.