What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

There are many men who suffer from sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation etc. but they are embarrassed to talk to the doctor about it. Experts suggest that if you are suffering from erectile dysfunction you must consult your doctor for a possible effective treatment that can boost your self confidence and relive you from depression.

Most men occasionally experience problems in gaining an erection. This is not usually a problem. It becomes a problem if it occurs regularly. If you have erectile dysfunction you must contact your doctor as it may be a sign of an underlying serious health problem like hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases or a problem in blood vessels.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.  Having erection trouble from time to time isn't necessarily a cause for concern. But if erectile dysfunction is an ongoing problem, it may cause stress, cause relationship problems or affect your self-esteem.

First, let's understand the problem. ED means an inability to get a good enough erection to achieve satisfactory intercourse. When you're sexually aroused, nerves fire in your brain and travel down your spinal cord to your penis. There, muscles relax and blood flows into the blood vessels. The result, if all goes well, is a rigid erection, ready for sex. 

But....Unfortunately if you don't have that hard effect required for penetration and the situation continues for a few weeks you may have erectile dysfunction. 

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. In most cases, erectile dysfunction is linked to a problem with the nervous system, blood circulation, or loss of libido. Reduced libido can be caused by stress, anxiety, depression or changes in hormone levels.

Erectile dysfunction is not an inevitable part of ageing. It is usually linked to something else, such as a health condition. Many of these conditions come with age, but age itself does not cause ED. 

Certain physical problems such as neurogenic, anatomical, vasculogenic or harmonal imbalances and psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue or relation ship problems etc may cause ED.  

Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological problems causes erectile dysfunction. For example, a minor physical problem that slows your sexual response may cause anxiety about maintaining an erection. Anxiety, which may cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. No matter how awkward you feel about it, your family doctor is a good choice to consult when you have erectile problems. 

Are you at risk?

Usually it's a result of underlying health problems or taking medications, which is more common as men age. A variety of risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction. They include:
  1. Medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart problems.
  2. Smoking or using tobacco it restricts blood flow to veins and arteries causing chronic health problems that lead to ED.
  3. Obesity or being overweight.
  4. Medical treatments, such as prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer.
  5. Injuries, if they damage the nerves that control erections.
  6. Medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines and medications to treat high blood pressure, pain or prostate cancer. There are more than 200 prescription drugs that can cause ED.
  7. Psychological conditions, such as stress, anxiety or depression.
  8. Drug and alcohol use, especially if you're a long-term drug user or heavy drinker.
  9. Prolonged bicycling, which may compress nerves and affect blood flow to the penis, can lead to temporary erectile dysfunction.
  10. Kidney disease can affect many of the things you need for a healthy erection, including your hormones, blood flow to your penis, and parts of your nervous system.
  11. Testosterone and other hormones fuel a man's sex drive, and an imbalance can throw off his interest in sex. 
The above factors are the major causes of ED which can further multiply and complicate your problems with unsatisfactory sexual life, irritability, stress and anxiety, embarrassment or low self esteem, relationship breakup, or impotency. 

What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction symptoms may include persistent:
  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Trouble keeping an erection
  • Reduced libido
  • Only being able to achieve an erection during masturbation, but not during sexual intercourse

Contact your GP or family physician if you have symptoms for more than a month. Your doctor may carefully examine and evaluate your condition and recommend a suitable treatment. If your doctor suspect your ED is due to some major underlying health issues he may refer you to an specialist.

How erectile dysfunction is treated?

A verity of options are available for treating erectile dysfunction. First your doctor will treat you for the health problem that may be causing erectile dysfunction. Some times problem is resolved just by treating underlying health problems.

Your doctor will recommend best treatment for you depending upon causes and severity of your condition. A good doctor should clearly explain the risks and benefits of any treatment that is offered. Some experts say the man's spouse or partner should be involved in the treatment choices. Options are as under:

1) Oral medications
Oral medicines from the class phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors like sildenafil, tadalafil or vardenafil are found to be effective and sometimes need only to be used for a short-time to find relief from symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Some popular medications are:

  1. Viagra which contains Sildenafil, still remains the world's most popular ED drug. You may take a pill approximately 3o minutes before playtime. It widens the bloods vessels, so giving an erection – provided there is some sexual stimulation – such as rubbing. and the effects usually last upto 8 hours, this doesn't mean the erection lasts for 8 hours, rather that an erection can be produced for up to 8 hours after taking a tablet. It's easily blocked by food in the stomach.
  2. Levitra containing Vardenafil is also a good one, if taken an hour before sex, effects may be presnt upto 8 hrs.
  3. Cialis contains Tadalafil this is also a good one effects may present upto 8 as with the other two, take from 30 minutes to 1 hour before sex.

These medical agents work to improve the relaxation of smooth muscle and mimic the effects of nitric oxide resulting in a good blood flow required for a better erection. 

Your doctor will take into account your particular situation to determine which medication may work best and inform you about the side effects they may cause. Sometimes the you may have to alter dosages and change medication before obtaining the desired results and minimizing the adverse effects.

Also, it is now very easy to buy Viagra, Cialis and Levitra through the internet, but I personally DO NOT recommend this – particularly because criminals have been making a fortune by selling fake tablets on the net and also they may strike back with sharp side effects and complicate your health problems.

2) Alprostadil injections or pelets
Under this method a fine needle injection is used to inject alprostadil in to penis or a tiny alprostadil suppository is placed inside your penile urethra. This improves blood flow to the penis resulting a full erection 15 minutes that can last upto an hour.

3) Life style changes
Living a sedentary life style and bad food habits affect your health in general. Improving your lifestyle and eating habits not only improves your overall health but also can improve your ED or impotency problem

So if you smoke or drink alcohol or take illegal drugs QUIT NOW!
If you are overweight or obese lose weight.
Exercise regularly and solve your relation ship issues.

These simple steps may help you swipe out the ED from your life.  

4) Vacuum pump
A pump is connected to plastic tube. The tube is placed over your penis, and then the pump is used to suck out the air inside the tube. This creates a vacuum that pulls blood into your penis. Once you get an erection, you slip a tension ring around the base of your penis to hold in the blood and keep it firm. You then remove the vacuum device. The erection typically lasts long enough for a couple to have sex.

5) Surgery
If all other methods do not produce satisfactory results your doctor may think of penile implants or any other surgery required to stop leakage of blood or obstruction in blood vessel.

Some alternate medicines and herbal home remedies also work well in treating erectile dysfunction or impotency. We will discuss it in our next post.

please share your experiences of ED in the comment section as it may be of great value to others. 

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