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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 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. 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 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 can also affect their feelings such as anxiety or low sexual 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.

Most people have a problem with erections from time to time. But if it happens often and interferes with a person’s quality of life, he should see his 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

It’s not uncommon for men to experience problems obtaining or maintaining an erection. If it occurs regularly and interferes in sex, you should consult your doctor.

The underlying causes for ED can be different, but in some instances a tentative diagnosis can be made after a thorough history and physical exam. 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 improve outcomes and address the biopsychosocial ED model. 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

Although ED can cause embarrassment and lower self-esteem, it is important to have an open conversation with your doctor about what is going on. 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.

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.