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Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Erectile Dysfunction - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Erectile Dysfunction (ED), or sexual impotence, is the inability to obtain and sustain an erection strong enough to perform sexual intercourse. Even after proper sexual stimulation, a man fails to erect his penile organ in this condition. 

Having this kind of erection problem occasionally is not necessarily a matter of concern. However, if achieving an erection is an ongoing problem, it can cause stress or depression, affect your self-esteem and confidence, and even contribute to relationship issues. Problems in attaining or keeping an erection can also be an indication of some underlying medical condition that needs appropriate treatment.

If you are an ED victim, speak to your doctor; do not hesitate or ignore the problem. Sometimes, simply identifying and treating the underlying condition is sufficient to reverse impotence issues. In other cases of ED, medications or direct ED treatments are required.

Causes of ED

Normally, a penile erection is an intricate mechanism in the body, which involves the brain, nerves, hormones, muscles, blood vessels and the penile organ. There are several physical and psychological factors that can give rise to ED problem in men. They include:

  • Vascular – Heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol
  • Hormonal – Low testosterone
  • Metabolic – Diabetes
  • Neurological – Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lifestyle – Obesity, smoking, chronic alcoholism, illegal drugs, poor diet, lack of exercise
  • Iatrogenic – Prostate/Rectum surgery, bad effect of certain medicines
  • Psychological – Stress, anxiety and depression

Symptoms of ED

  • Trouble in achieving an erection
  • Trouble in sustaining an erection
  • Low sexual drive 

When you persistently experience the above-mentioned symptoms, you are diagnosed with ED. See your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms of ED.

Complications of ED

  • Low-self esteem
  • Embarrassment
  • Frustration
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Unsatisfactory sexual life
  • Disharmony in relationship
  • Inability to make your partner pregnant

Treatment of ED

First and foremost, your doctor will make sure you get an appropriate treatment for underlying medical condition that is causing impotence. Your doctor might ask you to undergo various treatment options after considering your cause and complexity of ED. At the same time, he may explain you the risks and benefits of treatment. More importantly, your doctor may also consider your partner’s preferences while choosing a treatment.

Oral ED Drugs

Oral drugs have found to be successful in treating erectile dysfunction, which include:

These ED drugs have same pharmacological action. They belong to a group of drugs called PDE5-inhibitors. The main function of these drugs is to inhibit the secretion of an enzyme PDE5 in order to enhance the effect of a substance called nitric oxide. This increases blood supply so that you can get erection while undergoing sexual stimulation.

Oral ED medicines will not spontaneously produce an erection. Sexual excitement is required in order to release nitric oxide for an erection. Remember, these drugs do not comprise any aphrodisiac properties, so they are not useful for improving your sexual drive. These prescription medicines are to be used only under the supervision of a medical professional.

Other ED Treatments

  • Self-injections – Alprostadil, Phentolamine and Papaverine are the medicines that are to be injected directly into the penile tissues.
  • Alprostadil Urethral Suppository – A tiny suppository that is to be inserted in your penile organ with the help of a special applicator.
  • Testosterone Replacement – Testosterone Replacement Therapy helps treat low testosterone, one of the causes of ED.
  • Penile Pumps – Also known as a vacuum device, a penile pump is a hollow tube with battery-powered device that is to be placed over penile organ and pumped to draw blood into the organ.
  • Penile Implants – Surgical planting of devices to the both sides of the penile organ. The inflatable device allows you to control an erection.
  • Vascular Surgery – An invasive procedure in which clogged arteries are bypassed for easy flow of blood.
  • Psychological Counseling – Counseling helps with anxiety and stress that are the potential causes of ED.
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