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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 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. Penile artery injuries can also lead to ED, especially if they cause scarring or narrowing. Abnormalities of the pelvic nerves may interfere with erections. Long-term diabetes may damage the nerves that control the penis in the head and neck.

As men age, erectile dysfunction is more common. Generally, the most common cause of impotence in older adults is caused by blood flow problems. 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 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 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. You can also reduce your chances of erectile dysfunction by exercising, drinking less alcohol, and not smoking or using illegal drugs.

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 might include a blood test for diabetes and cholesterol, an ultrasound of the penis, and evaluation for endocrine disorders.

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 improve outcomes and address the biopsychosocial ED model. 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.

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 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.