What is Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.
Having erection trouble from time to time isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the most common sex problem that men report to their doctor. It affects as many as 30 million men. Though it’s not rare for a man to have some problems with erections from time to time, ED that is progressive or happens routinely with sex is not normal, and it should be treated.
Occasional ED isn’t uncommon. Many men experience it during times of stress. Frequent ED, however, can be a sign of health problems that need treatment. It can also be a sign of emotional or relationship difficulties that may need to be addressed by a professional.
ED is now well understood and there are various treatments available.
Symptoms Of ED
With Erectile Dysfunction (ED), it is hard to get or keep an erection that is firm enough for sex. When ED becomes a routine and bothersome problem, your primary care provider or a Urologist can help.
ED may be a major warning sign of cardiovascular disease indicating blockages are building in a man’s vascular system. Some studies have shown men with ED are at significant risk of getting a heart attack, stroke, or circulatory problems in the legs. ED also causes:
- Low self-esteem
- Distress for the man and his partner
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Reduced sexual desire
If ED is affecting a man’s well-being or his relationships, it should be treated. Treatment aims to fix or enhance erectile function, help circulatory health and help the quality of a man’s life.
Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction
Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these. Likewise, stress and mental health concerns can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction.
Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes erectile dysfunction. For instance, a minor physical condition that slows your sexual response might cause anxiety about maintaining an erection. The resulting anxiety can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction.
Physical causes of erectile dysfunction
In many cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by something physical. Common causes include:
- Heart disease
- Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist, and high cholesterol
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Certain prescription medications
- Tobacco use
- Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
- Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
- Sleep disorders
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
- Low testosterone
Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction
The brain plays a key role in triggering a series of physical events that cause an erection, starting with feelings of sexual excitement. A number of things can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:
- Depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions
- Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns
Treatment Of Erectile Dysfunction
Treatment for ED will depend on the underlying cause. You may need to use a combination of treatments, including medication or talk therapy.
Medications For Erectile Dysfunction
A person with ED can take a group of drugs called PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase-5) inhibitors.
Most of these pills are taken 30 to 60 minutes before sex, the best known being the blue-colored pill sildenafil (Viagra).
Your doctor may prescribe medication to help you manage the symptoms of ED. You may need to try several medications before you find one that works. The following oral medications stimulate blood flow to your penis to help treat ED:
Oral Drugs (PDE5 inhibitors)
Drugs known as PDE type-5 inhibitors increase penile blood flow. These are the only oral agents approved in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of ED.
- Generic Viagra (Sildenafil citrate)
- Levitra (Generic vardenafil)
- Cialis (Tadalafil)
- Stendra (Avanafil)
Medications used for other conditions may cause ED. Talk to your doctor about your medications and whether they could be causing your symptoms. There may be others that you can take instead. Never stop taking medications without first talking to your doctor.
Online pharmacies To Buy ED Pills
It is possible to buy treatments over the internet for ED. However, a person should be cautious when doing so.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a consumer safety guide trusted Source regarding online pharmacies. Including Ignitemeds.com is FDA approved online pharmacy.
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As you get older, erections might take longer to develop and might not be as firm. You might need a more direct touch to your penis to get and keep an erection.
Various risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction, including:
- Medical conditions, particularly diabetes or heart conditions
- Tobacco use, which restricts blood flow to veins and arteries, can — over time — cause chronic health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction
- Being overweight, especially if you’re obese
- Certain medical treatments, such as prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer
- Injuries, particularly if they damage the nerves or arteries that control erections
- Medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and medications to treat high blood pressure, pain, or prostate conditions
- Psychological conditions, such as stress, anxiety, or depression
- Drug and alcohol use, especially if you’re a long-term drug user or heavy drinker
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I know my ED is physical and not mental?
It’s hard to know. Health providers now realize that most men have an underlying physical cause of ED. For most patients, there are both physical and emotional factors that lead to ED. It is impossible to prove that there is no psychological part to a man’s ED.
How is erectile dysfunction treated?
ED can be treated in many ways, including:
- Oral medications.
- Sex therapy.
- Penile injections.
- Vacuum devices.
- Intraurethral medication.
- Surgery (penile implant).
What non-surgical treatments are there for erectile dysfunction (ED)?
- Education and communication
- Mechanical aids
- Psychology and sex therapies
Can erectile dysfunction (ED) be prevented?
For people who are at risk of developing ED due to personal behavior, steps may be taken to try to prevent its occurrence. However, other causes may not be preventable.
What should I do if I am having problems achieving/keeping an erection?
If you suspect you have erectile dysfunction, please see your primary care physician or a urologist. He or she can perform tests to find out what is causing your problem and refer you to a specialist if needed. Once the cause is identified, there are several treatment options to choose from.
Does insurance cover erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment?
Insurance coverage for ED depends on the type of treatment prescribed and whether your insurance covers sexual dysfunction at all. Speak with your insurance provider to determine if the option you are considering will be covered.
What Questions Should I Ask My Health Care Provider?
- What is ED?
- What causes ED? Can it be prevented?
- Can you help me with ED, or do I need to see a specialist? If I need a specialist (Urologist), do you have a referral for me?
- What tests do you suggest to find the cause of my ED, and why?
- Can you check my heart and blood health?
- Are there any lifestyle changes that could help my symptoms?
- What types of treatments are available?
- What treatment do you suggest for me and why?
- What are the pros and cons of each type of treatment you suggest?
- What are the side effects?
- What happens if the first treatment doesn’t help?
You have diabetes, heart disease, or another known health condition that might be linked to erectile dysfunction. The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to make healthy lifestyle choices and to manage any existing health conditions. Though it’s not rare for a man to have some problems with erections from time to time, ED that is progressive or happens routinely with sex is not normal, and it should be treated.