Erectile dysfunction is a health condition where a man frequently finds it difficult in getting or maintaining an erect penis firm to be able to engage in sexual intercourse. ED is a common problem that affects about a quarter of men.
Occasionally men may have difficulties in maintaining an erection or getting one, there’s nothing to worry about if this is the case. However if ED has interfered in having satisfactory sexual intercourse multiple times, it may be better to contact a physician.
What causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction may be caused by a number of factors that affect the nerves, blood vessels, and hormones. It can also occur due to other health conditions.
The following list covers most of the major causes of ED.
- Heart problems
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Nerve and brain disorders
- Hormonal disorders
- Smoking, alcoholism, and substance abuse
- Injuries sustained to the penis or pelvic area or the spine
- Severe anxiety
- Medications to treat other health conditions
How is Erectile Dysfunction diagnosed?
The physician firstly takes a look at your medical and sexual history. The doctor then checks the medications you are taking.
You may also have to undergo some tests like:
- Physical test
- Psychological test
- Blood test
- Urine test
These tests help the physician understand if ED is a byproduct of some other medical condition or not.
How is Erectile Dysfunction treated?
Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction includes changing any medication that may be affecting your penile function.
Depending on the gravity of the diagnosed problems, various treatment methods can be adopted like:
Prescribing oral medicine: These medicines usually work to relax your muscles and increase blood flow to your penis.
Oral medicines may include sildenafil, tadalafil, avanafil, vardenafil. Sometimes your doctor may also ask you to take testosterone doses. Make sure to consult a healthcare professional before taking any medicine.
Prescribe injections: In some cases, injections of Alprostadil are prescribed to produce strong automatic erections that last.
Urethral suppository: Alprostadil can also be inserted into the urethra as a suppository (intraurethral therapy).
Vacuum devices: Vacuum devices are mechanical devices that are used to cause an erection in men who have not responded properly to drugs or in those men who cannot take the drugs. The device forms a vacuum around the penis, forcing blood to rush to the penis causing an erection. The erection is sustained by using a band around the base of the penis, which prevents the blood from escaping.
Surgery: Surgical methods are used as a last resort and used on those who have tried all other available treatment methods. There are two kinds of surgeries that are usually used to treat ED, using penile implants or vascular surgery.
Penile implants:- In this method, either malleable or inflatable rods are inserted into the penis. Inflatable rods are controlled by a pump in the scrotum while malleable rods can be adjusted manually.
Vascular surgery:- In this method, blood vessels that may prevent blood from flowing to the penis are dilated.
Lifestyle changes to reduce Erectile Dysfunction
Certain exercises have been found to reduce the severity of ED in men.
These are simple exercises used to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Men who tried kegel exercises have seen significant changes in penile function. Kegel exercises are recommended for people who’ve had prostate surgeries too as it improves bladder control too.
The benefits of exercise are not limited to having an aesthetic body, research shows that exercising also works to relieve stress and increases blood flow which may be beneficial in alleviating ED.
Yoga helps in calming the mind and body simultaneously. This helps reduce stress and anxiety which are major causes of ED.
These exercises when combined with a healthy diet may help reduce the risk of developing ED.
Studies show that eating whole grains, plenty of fruit and veggies may be beneficial. At the same time, it is advised to stay away from red meat, sugary and refined foods as well as limit alcohol consumption.
Long gone are the days when Erectile Dysfunction was seen as something that makes you less of a man. With advances in technology and medicine, almost anyone with erectile dysfunction can be treated adequately to achieve sexual satisfaction.