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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.

Causes

Men are often embarrassed to discuss sexual dysfunctions with their doctors. This can 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. Any neurological injury or disease, such as a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease can cause ED by interfering with nerve impulses. 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, they become more likely to experience erectile difficulties. Generally, the most common cause of impotence in older adults is caused by blood flow problems. These can be due to the aging of the arteries or other issues such as diabetes and heart 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 vary by person, but they include the following:

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

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 perform a physical examination and ask you about your symptoms. They may also perform blood or urine tests. You can help reduce your chances of erectile dysfunction by exercising, drinking less alcohol and not smoking or using illegal drugs. 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. 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 supplements and lifestyle changes also may 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 address the biopsychosocial model of ED and improve outcomes. Some people may need further testing or referrals to a specialist. If medical treatments are not effective, vacuum constriction devices or 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.

Men with ED, who are not responding to current medications, will benefit from new medications such as phosphodiesterase inhibiters like sildenafil. These medications are likely to work faster and longer than older drugs, and may also have fewer side-effects.

Exercise, a healthy eating plan and avoiding smoking and foods high in sodium are all ways to improve your sexual function. 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.