Veterans Administration Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Erectile Dysfunction – What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?

Most men have trouble with erectile function at some time. 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. Any neurological injury or disease, such as a stroke, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease can cause ED by interfering with nerve impulses. Injuries to the penile arteries can also cause ED, particularly if they result in scarring or narrowing of the arteries. Abnormalities in the pelvic nerves can interfere with erections, and long-term diabetes can damage the nerves in the head and neck that control the penis.

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 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 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. 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 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

It’s not uncommon for men to experience problems obtaining or maintaining 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, 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 address the biopsychosocial model of ED and improve outcomes. 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.

Exercise, a healthy eating plan and avoiding smoking and foods high in sodium are all ways to improve your sexual function. 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.