We provide preventive measures and effective treatment both to help you avoid the ED or cure it if the problems already occur.
A man is considered to have erectile dysfunction if he regularly finds it difficult getting or keeping a firm erection enough to be able to have sex, or if it interferes with other sexual activity.
Most men have occasionally experienced some difficulty with their penis becoming hard or staying firm. However, erectile dysfunction (ED) is only considered a concern if satisfactory sexual performance has been impossible on a number of occasions for some time.
ED is currently well understood, and there are various treatments available.
Fast Facts on Erectile Dysfunction:
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as persistent difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection sufficient to have sex.
- Causes are usually medical but can also be psychological.
- Organic causes are usually the result of an underlying medical condition affecting the blood vessels or nerves supplying the penis.
- Numerous prescription drugs, recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking, can all cause ED.
Normal erectile function can be affected by problems with any of the following systems:
- blood flow;
- nerve supply;
Erectile dysfunction can cause embarrassment. It is always worth consulting a physician about persistent erection problems, as it could be caused by a serious medical condition.
Whether the cause is simple or serious, a proper diagnosis can help to address any underlying medical issues and help resolve sexual difficulties.
The following list summarizes many of the most common physical or organic causes of ED:
- heart disease and narrowing of blood vessels;
- high blood pressure;
- high cholesterol;
- obesity and metabolic syndrome;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- multiple sclerosis;
- hormonal disorders including thyroid conditions and testosterone deficiency;
- structural or anatomical disorder of the penis, such as Peyronie disease;
- smoking, alcoholism, and substance abuse, including cocaine use;
- treatments for prostate disease;
- surgical complications;
- injuries in the pelvic area or spinal cord;
- radiation therapy to the pelvic region.
Atherosclerosis is a common cause of blood flow problems. It causes a narrowing or clogging of arteries in the penis, preventing the necessary blood flow to the penis to produce an erection.
Numerous prescription medications can also cause ED. Anyone taking prescription medications should consult their doctor before stopping or changing their medications. Physical causes account for 90 percent of ED cases, with psychological causes much less common.
In rare cases, a man may always have had ED and may never have achieved an erection. This is called primary ED, and the cause is almost always psychological if there is no obvious anatomical deformity or physiological issue. Such psychological factors can include:
- fear of intimacy;
- severe anxiety.
Most cases of ED are ‘secondary.’ This means that erectile function has been normal, but becomes problematic. Causes of a new and persistent problem are usually physical.
Less commonly, psychological factors cause or contribute to ED, with factors ranging from treatable mental health illnesses to everyday emotional states that most people experience at some time.
It is important to note that there can be an overlap between medical and psychosocial causes. For instance, if a man is obese, blood flow changes can affect his ability to maintain an erection, which is a physical cause. However, he may also have low self-esteem, which can impact erectile function and is a psychosocial cause.
Men may not always successfully achieve an erection, and if this rarely happens, it is not considered a medical problem.
However, ED does not only refer to a complete inability to achieve an erect penis. Symptoms can also include struggling to maintain an erection for long enough to complete intercourse or an inability to ejaculate.
There are often also emotional symptoms, such as embarrassment, shame, anxiety, and a reduced interest in sexual intercourse.
A man is considered to have ED when these symptoms occur regularly.