Erectile Dysfunction – What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?
Most men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point. But not all seek medical help, partly out of embarrassment.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He or she may also run blood tests and urine tests to check for underlying health conditions that can cause ED.
Men often feel embarrassed to discuss sexual dysfunction with their doctors, which may delay diagnosis and treatment. This can lead to serious health issues, such as heart disease.
The causes of erectile dysfunction depend on blood flow, nerves and hormones. Any neurological injury or disease, such as a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease can cause ED by interfering with nerve impulses. Injuries to the penile arteries can also cause ED, particularly if they result in scarring or narrowing of the arteries. Abnormalities in the pelvic nerves can interfere with erections, and long-term diabetes can damage the nerves in the head and neck that control the penis.
As men age, erectile dysfunction is more common. Impotence is most commonly caused by problems with blood flow in older adults. These problems can be caused by the aging of arteries, or other factors such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These problems are sometimes an early warning sign for arteriosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries.
Men with ED have trouble getting or keeping an erection that’s firm enough for sexual activity. It also may affect their feelings, including anxiety or low sex drive. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but include:
Erectile Dysfunction is caused by a variety of factors, including nerve and blood vessel problems that affect the flow of blood to the penis. It can also occur as a side effect of some drugs and from the natural aging process.
Most people have a problem with erections from time to time. If it occurs frequently and affects a person’s life quality, they should consult their doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask you about your symptoms. They may also perform blood or urine tests. Exercise, a reduced alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking or illegal drugs can reduce your risk of erectile dysfunction. You can also reduce your chances of erectile dysfunction by exercising, drinking less alcohol, and not smoking or using illegal drugs.
It’s not uncommon for men to experience problems obtaining or maintaining an erection. But if it happens regularly and interferes with sex, talk to your GP.
The underlying causes of ED can vary, but in some cases a tentative diagnosis may be made by taking a careful history and physical examination. Other tests may include a blood test to check for diabetes and cholesterol. An ultrasound of the penis and evaluation for endocrine disorder are also possible.
In many cases, a doctor can help with medication such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) or vardenafil (Levitra). Other medications, dietary supplementation and lifestyle changes may also be helpful. Some people may benefit from psychosexual counseling or sex therapy, especially those whose ED is caused by relationship issues or anxiety about sex. This can improve outcomes and address the biopsychosocial ED model. Some people may need further testing or referrals to a specialist. If medical treatment is not working, then vacuum constriction devices and surgery may be considered.
It is important to talk openly with your doctor, even though ED can be embarrassing and cause a decrease in self-esteem. Having an honest discussion can lead to a diagnosis and the most effective treatment.
In the 14 years since Viagra hit the market, many more ED treatments have become available. In addition to pills, there are vacuum pumps, suppositories, surgical implantation and other options.
New medications, including phosphodiesterase inhibitors like sildenafil (Viagra), are being developed to help men with ED who don’t respond to the current drugs. These medications are likely to work faster and longer than older drugs, and may also have fewer side-effects.
Other ways to improve sexual function include exercise, a healthy diet and avoidance of smoking and high-sodium foods. If your erectile dysfunction is psychological in origin, talk to a mental health professional about individual or couples therapy. Men who cannot achieve a rigid erection can still enjoy intimacy and pleasure with their partners through non-sexual activities such as cuddling, genital caressing or oral sex.