Treatment Erectile Dysfunction Cleeveland Clinic

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 often feel embarrassed to discuss sexual dysfunction with their doctors, which may delay diagnosis and treatment. This can lead to more serious health problems, including heart disease.

The causes of erectile dysfunction depend on blood flow, nerves and hormones. 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 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 may have difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection firm enough to engage in sexual activity. It can also affect their feelings such as anxiety or low sexual 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. But if it happens often and interferes with a person’s quality of life, he should see his doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask you about your symptoms. They may also do 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 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, your doctor can prescribe medication like sildenafil or 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 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

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. There are many other options besides pills. These include vacuum pumps, suppositories and surgical implantation.

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.

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 cannot achieve a rigid erection can still enjoy intimacy and pleasure with their partners through non-sexual activities such as cuddling, genital caressing or oral sex.