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Erectile Dysfunction – What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?

Most men will experience erectile dysfunction at some point. Some men are embarrassed to seek medical attention.

Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and health history. He or she may also run blood tests and urine tests to check for underlying health conditions that can cause ED.

Causes

Men often feel embarrassed to discuss sexual dysfunction with their doctors, which may delay diagnosis and treatment. This can lead to more serious health problems, including heart disease.

Erectile dysfunction is caused by blood flow, hormones and nerves. ED can be caused by any neurological injury or illness, such as a Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Penile artery injuries can also lead to ED, especially if they cause scarring or narrowing. 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.

Symptoms

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 can be caused by many things, including nerve and vascular problems that affect blood flow to the penis. It can also occur as a side effect of some drugs and from the natural aging process.

It’s normal for most people to sometimes have trouble with erections. If it occurs frequently and affects a person’s life quality, they should consult their doctor. Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask 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. Managing your health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, can also help.

Diagnosis

Occasionally, it’s normal for men to have problems getting or keeping an erection. If it occurs regularly and interferes in sex, you should consult your doctor.

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 supplements and lifestyle changes also may be helpful. Psychosexual counseling, or sex therapy, is an option for some people, particularly those whose ED results from relationship issues or anxiety around sex. This can address the biopsychosocial model of ED and improve outcomes. Some people may require further testing or referral to a specialist. If medical treatment is not working, then vacuum constriction devices and surgery may be considered.

Treatment

It is important to talk openly with your doctor, even though ED can be embarrassing and cause a decrease in self-esteem. A candid discussion can lead to the best diagnosis and treatment.

Since Viagra was introduced to the market in 1994, there have been many other ED treatments 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 will probably work faster and last longer than the older ones, and may 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 are unable to achieve a rigid, permanent erection may still be able to enjoy intimacy and pleasure through non-sexual activities like cuddling, genital massage or oral sex.