Many men may feel uncomfortable talking about erectile dysfunction, but the good news is there are ways to treat it!
In this article:
- What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
- What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?
- What Are the Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction?
- What Are the Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction?
- Who Are At Risk for Erectile Dysfunction?
- How Is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?
- Is There A Cure For Erectile Dysfunction?
- How Do You Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
- What Oral Medication Can You Take for Erectile Dysfunction?
- How Can You Prevent Erectile Dysfunction?
- Where Can You Get Treated For Erectile Dysfunction?
Frequently Asked Questions About Erectile Dysfunction
1. What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) or impotence is the consistent inability to produce or sustain an erection to have satisfactory sexual intercourse. ED may have physical and/or psychological causes.
It is normal for men to experience the symptoms of ED every now and then. But it may require medical attention if it is a persistent problem.
2. What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?
When everything is working the way it should, sexual stimulation brings about increased blood flow into the two chambers of the penis (the corpora cavernosa). When the chambers are full, the penis becomes hard.
If a problem occurs during the process, men may experience the following symptoms of erectile dysfunction:
- inability to produce an erection
- erections that are too soft to be able to have sex
- inability to maintain an erection during sex
- exhibits less interest in sexual activities
It’s important to note it shouldn’t be a cause for concern if men experience these symptoms occasionally. Erectile dysfunction is a condition where men experience these symptoms regularly or consistently.
3. What Are the Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction?
Often times, ED is associated with other medical conditions or chronic diseases. ED can be a side effect of:
- heart disease
- atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis
- type 2 diabetes
- hypertension or high blood pressure
- hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol
- metabolic syndrome
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peyronie’s disease
- sleep disorders
- prostate cancer or enlarged prostate treatment
- surgery or injury in the pelvic area
- surgery or injury in the spinal cord
- surgery for bladder cancer
There are also certain prescription medications that cause erectile dysfunction. These include:
- medication for prostate cancer therapy (antiandrogens)
- blood pressure medicine
- ulcer medicine
- certain sleep aids (tranquilizers or sedatives)
- appetite suppressants
It may also be caused by certain lifestyle choices such as:
- substance abuse
4. What Are the Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction?
For some men, erectile dysfunction is caused by both physical and psychological factors. Some of these psychological factors are:
- poor self-esteem
- performance anxiety
- relationship problems
- couple fertility problems
These psychological factors may not necessarily be the primary cause of ED, but it can further aggravate ED that is caused by a medical condition.
5. Who Are At Risk for Erectile Dysfunction?
Men who have medical conditions, poor lifestyle habits, or who have experienced some of the psychological issues discussed earlier are more at risk for erectile dysfunction.
A study shows that 1 in 4 men who seek out treatment for erectile dysfunction is under 40 years old. Research suggests that poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking or substance abuse, are usually the cause of ED in younger men.
In addition to those conditions listed above, men are more likely to experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction as they get older.
One study shows that about 40% of men will experience some form of ED at 40 years old. Almost 70% of men experience ED at 70 years old.
6. How Is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?
If you suspect that you have ED, it’s best to see a urologist.
What is a urologist? A urologist is a doctor that specializes in the urinary tract and male reproductive system.
The diagnosis may require:
- physical exam
- psychological screening
- medical and sexual history
- blood test
- nocturnal erection test
What is a nocturnal erection test? It is a test that monitors a patient’s erections while they sleep.
7. Is There A Cure For Erectile Dysfunction?
It depends on the primary cause of the patient’s ED. In some cases, if the underlying condition is treated, it may reverse the erectile dysfunction.
For example, if it is caused by a certain medication the patient is taking, switching or eliminating it may reverse the ED.
But for others, specific medical intervention or treatments may be needed to treat ED.
8. How Do You Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
The treatment for erectile dysfunction will depend on the conditions that have contributed to it. Depending on the underlying causes, treatment may include:
- Lifestyle changes – Patient may be asked to give up some unhealthy lifestyle habits (ex: smoking or excessive drinking).
- Counseling or therapy – This may include couples counseling or sex therapy.
- Change current medication – Doctors may suggest a change in the dosage or type of medication that’s being taken for other medical conditions.
- New oral medication – Certain oral medications may be able to help patients get and sustain an erection.
- Injectable medicines – Certain medicines can be injected to trigger automatic erections.
- Alternative medicine/supplements – Certain homeopathic or herbal medicine have been effective in treating ED.
- Vacuum devices – These are mechanical tools that patients can use to help develop an erection.
- Penile prosthesis – This is a procedure where a new tube is placed in the penis to help create erections.
- Vascular reconstructive surgery – This is a surgery that aims to improve the blood flow into the penis.
Your doctor should be able to tell you which treatments will work best for you.
9. What Oral Medication Can You Take for Erectile Dysfunction?
There are four common oral medications prescribed for ED. These include:
- Avanafil (ex: Stendra)
- Tadalafil (ex: Cialis)
- Vardenafil (ex: Levitra)
- Sildenafil (ex: Viagra)
All of these help increase the blood flow to the penis to achieve an erection.
10. How Can You Prevent Erectile Dysfunction?
While the risk of ED may increase as you age, there are a few things you can do to help prevent it. Here are a few things you can start doing:
- Don’t smoke or quit smoking.
- Don’t use illegal drugs.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy body mass index.
- Work with your doctor to stay on top of pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.
- Find ways to reduce stressors.
- Prioritize your mental health and seek treatment if necessary.
- Regular pelvic floor muscle exercises or kegel exercises.
The key to preventing ED is maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
11. Where Can You Get Treated For Erectile Dysfunction?
We service midwest patients of Illinois. Our offices are located in Peoria, Illinois and Perkin, Illinois. Patients from other areas are treated as well. Simply contact us at (309) 692-9898 for more details.
About 30 million men in the United States have experienced erectile dysfunction. So, it’s more common than you think.
ED is a complex medical condition with a number of possible causes. And just like any other medical condition, the best thing to do is to visit your doctor and let them know about it.
While it may feel uncomfortable to talk about at first, don’t let the shame rob you of the opportunity to reclaim your sex life.
Would you like to talk to one of our doctors about erectile dysfunction? Reach out to us today!