What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a medical condition characterized by the inability of getting or sustaining an erection. According to statistics, approximately 18 million men in the United States suffer from erectile dysfunction which is quite common in older men, but can occur in those who have not had any sexual involvement even at any age. There are a number of treatment options for ED, consult your doctor immediately if you are experiencing something close to erectile dysfunction.
What factors increase the risk for ED?
A lot of factors predispose you or increase the risk of you coming down with erectile dysfunction. The most popular of them is High blood pressure (hypertension) and Diabetes mellitus (Elevated blood sugar level). Other factors include: Abnormal hormone levels (thyroid or testosterone), Injury or surgery (especially bladder, prostate or rectal surgery), lifestyle factors (like alcohol abuse, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, use of recreational drugs), side effects of some medications (Antihistamines and high blood pressure medication) and the list goes on.
Does age play a significant role in ED?
It has been established that the possibility of ED increases as men get older. Getting older in itself does not translate to coming down with erectile dysfunction. ED can be treated no matter the age of the subject. ED is usually caused by other health complications which your doctor is more acquainted about, like diabetes and high blood pressure- which are so more common with old age.
What are the main causes of erectile dysfunction?
There a number of complications that can lead to erectile dysfunction, however, the causes highlighted below account for about 90% of cases, and usually ED will creep in slowly.
Damage or Injury to nerves going to the penis- Nerve damage or injury usually results from surgery carried out on structures around the penis, such as radiotherapy to the genital, spinal surgery, prostate, fractured pelvis and what have you.
Decreased blood flow to the penis- This is regarded as the most pervasive cause of erectile dysfunction in men above the age of 30. The vessels which transport blood to the penis can become skewed or narrowed meaning that the supply or flow of blood may not be adequate to cause an erection. Some risk factors are known to increase the events of arteries narrowing include high body cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and old age.
Diseases affecting the nerves of the penis- The diseases which affect the nerves going to the penis include stroke or Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Side effects of some medicines- A number of antidepressants, diuretics and beta blockers have been implicated in erectile dysfunction
Lifestyle factors- This include sedentary lifestyle, consumption of fat substances, recreation drug abuse, Alcohol abuse etc.
Cycling- During cycling, by sitting on the saddle pressure is mounted on the nerves going to the penis meaning that prolong cycling can contribute to the development of erectile dysfunction.
What are the available treatment options?
Most medications used in the treatment of ED work by enhancing blood flow to your penis. They do this by interacting with cGMP which is a chemical that is involved in the widening of the blood vessels when you are aroused sexually. The medications help you to get erection easily and sustain the erection for a lasting sexual activity.
Before the advent of the blue pills, this was the widely employed treatment method. Patients were taught how to gently insert a medicine at the base of the penis. The injection treatment causes increased blood flow just like the medications would do and erection effects within 15 minutes of injection.
Treating the underlying cause
This approach is basically eliminating the risk factors for example reducing alcohol intake, treating anxiety and depression or treating hormonal conditions.
Erectile dysfunction is usually a pointer to other diseases such as heart and cardiovascular diseases. Embark on a lifestyle modification, such as eating healthy, smoking cessation, and regular exercise.
Counseling of Couples
In some situations, psychological problems can be the cause of an unyielding erectile dysfunction. It has been reported that men who have these psychological problems need counseling or sex therapy alongside the prescribed medication to lead a performing sexual life.