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 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.
Men are often embarrassed to discuss sexual dysfunctions with their doctors. This can delay diagnosis and treatment. This can lead to serious health issues, such as 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. Impotence is most commonly caused by problems with blood flow in older adults. These can be due to the aging of the arteries or other issues such as diabetes and heart disease. These problems can be an early warning sign of arteriosclerosis. This is the buildup fatty substances within the arteries.
Men with ED may have difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection firm enough to engage in 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 be a side-effect of some drugs or from the natural aging.
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 do 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.
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 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, your doctor can prescribe medication like sildenafil or 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.
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 you suspect that your erectile disorder is psychological, speak to a mental healthcare professional about individual or couple 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.