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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 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, they become more likely to experience erectile difficulties. 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 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.

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. 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. 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 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 supplementation and lifestyle changes may also 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 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. 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 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.