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Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction, or ED, affects over 30 millions men in the US. It also affects 150 million men worldwide. It can be caused a number of ways, sometimes in combination.

It can be caused either by a medical condition such as diabetes, nerve or heart disease, a medication side effect, or a psychological issue like stress or relationship issues. Treatments can range from penile implants to medication.

Causes

Erectile Dysfunction is caused by medical, mental or physical factors. It is a common disorder that affects a male’s sexual function. This can lead to emotional distress or marital problems. The causes of ED remain a mystery. It is vital to address any issues causing sexual dysfunction whether they be psychological or medical.

When blood fills the corpora venosa (the chambers within his penis), a man can get erection. This is caused by impulses from the genital and brain. ED can be caused if something blocks these signals or stops blood flow in the penis. Medical problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, can lead to ED. Surgery and cancer treatments can also affect the ability of a man to maintain and get an erection.

Men may feel embarrassed to discuss erectile dysfunction with their doctor. However, a diagnosis will help to treat the problem. A doctor can often prescribe a variety of treatments to improve a patient’s sexual function and reduce the impact it has on their relationships.

Symptoms

In addition to affecting a man’s physical health, erectile dysfunction can be disruptive to personal relationships. Partners of people with ED may feel upset and anxious, or may suspect their partner is being unfaithful. Many people who suffer from ED will stop sexual activity.

Erectile dysfunction symptoms include inability to achieve or maintain an erection, lifelong premature ejaculation, (i.e. ejaculating within one minute before vaginal penetration), and psychological symptoms like performance anxiety. A doctor can confirm a diagnosis by examining the patient’s penis, taking a urine sample, and doing blood tests.

Erectile dysfunction can often be treated by addressing the underlying cause, which may involve managing a health condition such as diabetes or heart disease, stopping smoking or alcohol abuse, and/or treating anxiety or depression. ED can also be a forewarning symptom of progressive coronary heart disease, so it’s important that men discuss their sexual function with their doctors.

Diagnosis

A health care professional can diagnose ED by asking questions, giving you a physical exam and ordering lab tests. He may also refer you to a Urologist.

The most common cause of ED is problems with blood flow to the penis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that causes narrowing or clogging in the arteries. This condition is usually caused by aging, but can also be caused by smoking, high blood-pressure, and certain medications.

Emotional problems can also cause or make ED worse. These feelings can include low sex motivation (loss libido), depression, anxiety or stress from past ED experiences or side effects. Communication with your partner can help you address these issues. A therapist can help. Sometimes, partners can be helpful in the treatment sessions. However, some people prefer to see a health care provider alone.

Treatment

The treatment of erectile dysfunction depends on its underlying cause. It can be improved by managing diabetes and heart disease, and taking medications that help blood flow to the penis (such as nitrates). Treatment for BPH or Pelvic Cancer can also affect sexual function. Surgery for prostate and bladder problems can damage the nerves controlling an erection. The problem usually improves with time.

Some medications (especially thiazides and antidepressants) can cause ED. Talk to your doctor before changing your medication.

Some people can reduce the symptoms of ED by making lifestyle changes such as eating healthily and exercising regularly. Reduced stress and anxiety can also help. Psychotherapy or counseling may be beneficial for those who have psychological causes of ED. Some insurance plans will cover these services. You can also pay privately to see a counsellor. You may want to go to counseling with your partner. It can teach you how to support one another during this difficult period.