What Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
A person is said to have erectile dysfunction if they fail to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. Most men occasionally experience some difficulty in achieving an erection due to stress or other psychological issues. However, if the frequency of ED increases, then that can be a sign of health condition that requires treatment.
People who have ED often find it difficult to talk to a doctor. They can be reluctant to discuss this issue due to embarrassment. But since the discovery of drugs like Viagra and Cialis, most of the men become aware that ED is a treatable condition and started talking about the problem with their sexual performance with their doctor.
Erectile Dysfunction Causes:
People can experience erectile dysfunction due to both physical and psychological reasons. The common causes of ED include
- Nerve supply
- Blood flow
- Heart disease
- Narrowing of blood vessels
- Multiple sclerosis
- Metabolic syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Structural or anatomical disorder of the penis
- Surgical complications
- Peyronie disease
- Hormonal disorder
- Testosterone deficiency
- Sleep disorder
- Consuming alcohol or tobacco products
Erectile Dysfunction Treatment:
The treatment of ED depends on the cause of the problem. Physicians usually prescribe a combination of therapy, which includes medication and talk therapy.
A doctor can prescribe various medications for treating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. One might have to try different drugs before finding the right one. Some of the oral medications that stimulate blood flow to your penis to help treat the problem of erectile dysfunction includes
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
- Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
- Avanafil (Stendra)
- Tadalafil (Cialis)
This drug relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels to increase the blood flow to certain areas of the body. It is a popular medication for treating erectile dysfunction in men. Other use of this medicine also include treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and improve exercise capacity in women and men.
This drug can interact with other medicines or herbal products. These products can change how this medication works and can cause harmful effects or prevent this medicine from working well. To avoid the adverse interaction, one should tell their doctor about all the products they are using.
This medicine can also have some side effects that a person should not ignore. These include blurry vision, fainting, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, weakness, hearing loss, chest pain, etc.
This medicine is available under the generic name, as well as the brand name. One can take this medication orally, as it is available in tablet form only. This drug is helpful in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is also useful in treating pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
This medicine works by increasing the blood flow to the penis, which helps in sustaining an erection. Sexually arouse person will experience the maximum effects of this drug.
Some of the common side effects of this drug include back pain, muscle aches, diarrhea, headache, runny or stuffy nose, low blood pressure, vision problems, etc. Avoid taking this medicine with medications like nitrates, alpha-blockers, HIV drugs, Oral antifungal drugs, antibiotics, etc. to minimize the side effects of this medicine.
Erectile dysfunction can be a result of several psychological factors, that includes
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If a person has ED due to psychological issues, they can benefit from talk therapy. A therapist will discuss the problems related to mental health over multiple sessions. Some of the essential things which the therapist might talk about are
- Subconscious conflicts that could be affecting the sexual well-being
- Stress or anxiety factors
- Patient’s feelings around sex
Experiencing ED can also affect a person’s relationship. Those having trouble maintaining a relationship due to this condition should seek help from a relationship counselor in addition to pursue ED treatment. Taking to a counselor helps the patient emotionally reconnect with their partner, which can also help with the ED situation.
Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms:
Many symptoms indicate that a person has erectile dysfunction. These symptoms include
- Reduced interest in sex
- Trouble achieving an erection
- Difficulty in sustaining an erection during sexual activities
Men can sometimes fail to achieve an erection, but that is a rare occurrence, and not regarded as a medical problem. Erectile dysfunction refers to the condition when a person is unable to achieve erection regularly. If a person struggles to maintain an erection for long enough to complete the intercourse or unable to ejaculate, then it is also considered as erectile dysfunction.
Some other symptoms that are related to erectile dysfunction include
- Delayed ejaculation
- Premature ejaculation
- Anorgasmia (unable to achieve orgasm after ample stimulation)
If a person has these symptoms for more than three months, then they should consult with a doctor to determine which type of treatment will be best for handling this situation.
Erectile Dysfunction Tests
If a person experiences the ED, then to get to determine the cause of the problem, a doctor will prescribe some tests. These erectile dysfunction tests include examining the health and sexual history of the patient, a physical examination, and more.
The doctor will examine the patient’s heart and lungs, check their blood pressure, and examine the penis and testicles. The doctor can also recommend a rectal exam to check the prostate.
The doctor will ask questions related to the symptoms that the patient is experiencing. They will also ask them about there sexual and health history. The patient’s response will help the doctor evaluate the severity of erectile dysfunction.
Common questions that the doctor might ask include
- Duration for which the patient is facing such symptoms.
- Frequency of these symptoms.
- Questions related to their feeling of sexual desire and orgasm.
- Frequency of sexual encounters.
- The firmness of the erections.
- Stimulations that have affects on the erection.
- Questions related to the relationship.
- If the patient has experienced a lot of stress?
The doctor might recommend further tests to help diagnose the ED.
- Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) test
- Injection test
- Urine test
- Blood tests
These tests help the doctor better understand the cause behind the ED and provide better treatment.
Erectile Dysfunction Exercises
Some exercises can also help treat erectile dysfunction, these include
These are simple muscle movements that a person can perform to strengthen the pelvic floor muscle
- First, identify the pelvic floor muscle. To do that, stop peeing midstream. The tissue causing this action is the pelvic floor muscle.
- Contract these muscles for 3 seconds and then release them.
- Repeat this exercise 10 to 20 times continuously, at least three times a day.
Aerobic exercise is good for overall health. It can increase the blood flow, which helps treat erectile dysfunction. This exercise includes swimming and running.
Yoga helps the body and mind to relax, which can be beneficial for the people who are facing the ED problem due to stress and anxiety. Since yoga can supers the symptoms of stress and anxiety, it can lead to decreasing the symptoms of ED.
Erectile Dysfunction Foods
Some food products might help treat the ED. The leading cause of ED is blockage of blood flow, and these foods can help improve the blood flow. People with ED can achieve it by making some lifestyle choices, like eating a healthy diet.
- Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains
- Limit the usage of red meats, and full-fat dairy products
- Limit alcohol consumption
Erectile Dysfunction Natural Treatment
Natural remedies might also help in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, these include
Herbs and Supplements
Several herbs and supplements have varying degrees of success in treating the ED.
- Korean red ginseng
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
- Horny goat weed
A prostatic massage is a form of therapy that helps treat the ED. In this, the practitioner massages the tissue around the groin to help increase the blood flow to the penis. People who have erectile dysfunction can undergo this message severe times a week to see the results.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese therapy in which the practitioner inserts needles into the skin at specific locations. This therapy works by stimulating the nerves. Studies are inconclusive on how this treatment works to treat erectile dysfunction, but people report that this has helped them. One should be careful while choosing an acupuncturist. They should look for certified practitioners who follow FDA guidelines.