What is erectile dysfunction? What causes erectile dysfunction? In this article, you’ll learn what erectile dysfunction is, its causes and symptoms, and how it is treated.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. Experts have estimated that as many as 30 million men in the United States are affected by erectile dysfunction.
What causes erectile dysfunction?
The most common physical causes are decreased blood flow and nerve damage. Other causes associated with erectile dysfunction include:
Vascular Disease- Arteriosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of the arteries, accounts for 50-60% of impotence in men over 60.
High Blood Pressure
Use of certain prescription drugs- Over 200 commonly prescribed drugs have been linked to erectile dysfunction, including drugs for high blood pressure, anti-depressants, and heart medication.
Abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction are the inability to have an erection or maintain an erection long enough to finish sexual intercourse.
How is it diagnosed?
To accurately diagnose erectile dysfunction, a medical and sexual history needs to be taken. Medical history questions may be asked including:
What medications you are taking, including vitamins and other dietary supplements.
What surgeries you’ve had
Any other disorders such as prostate surgery, trauma, or radiation therapy
Your doctor will also be looking for signs of depression such as moodiness, insomnia,
stress, or tension in your sexual relationship.
The doctor may ask the following questions about your sexual history:
How long has the problem existed? Did a major life event, such as divorce or job loss, occur at the same time?
Can you obtain and maintain an erection suitable enough for penetration?
Do you feel that your sexual desire has diminished and why?
Can you achieve orgasm, climax, and ejaculation?
The doctor will perform a complete physical examination with particular attention paid to the genitals, as well as the nervous, vascular, and urinary systems. Laboratory tests may be ordered to check cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and to determine kidney and liver function.
What is the treatment?
To treat erectile dysfunction before it causes problems will require some lifestyle changes. Stop smoking, control your blood sugar if diabetic, and cut down or eliminate alcohol. A healthy diet and regular exercise may eliminate the need for blood pressure and cholesterol medication.
The three oral drugs approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction are Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra. These drugs cause increased blood flow to the penis, so if a man is sexually stimulated, he can achieve an erection.
Levitra and Viagra take effect in about 30 minutes. The effects last about four hours with Viagra, and five with Levitra. Cialis takes effect in about 15 minutes, and can last up to 36 hours.
Don’t take nitroglycerin or a long-acting nitrate to treat chest pain, as combining with one of these three erectile dysfunction pills can cause dangerously low blood pressure, as can alpha blockers for prostate problems or for blood pressure.
If you’ve suffered a heart attack, stroke, or irregular heartbeat within the last six months, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
Male enhancements such as penis enlargers, creams, pumps, and enhancement pills & supplements promise the user an exciting love life with peak performance, and a lot of men want to buy them. Safety is a concern with the pills and supplements as they are not FDA approved. Creams, pumps, and penis enlargers can be tried, but if an underlying medical problem is causing erectile dysfunction, these problems will have to be treated first.