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Erectile Dysfunction: Its Causes and Treatments

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Erectile dysfunction affects about 30 million American males.

Although it is a problem that is more common among older men, it is not unusual to find the condition affecting younger men too.

Erectile dysfunction refers to the chronic difficulty to achieve or hold an erection sufficient to have sex.

Some men may sometimes experience a lack of desire for sexual intercourse. Some may have erectile problems once in a while.

The problem is diagnosed as erectile dysfunction if it is persistent or chronic.

General Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) may be a function of an underlying medical condition which needs to be addressed first.

ED may be a symptom of problems like kidney disease, diabetes, or cardiovascular issues.

A doctor will be able to either diagnose or rule out these problems.

If such a problem causes the erectile dysfunction, the doctor suggests appropriate treatments.

When the patient gets the necessary treatment and regains his health, he is also likely to find out that his erectile problems have resolved.

Erectile dysfunction may also be a symptom of excessive smoking, as well as of drug and alcohol abuse. It may also be an indicator of low testosterone levels or an enlarged prostate.

Psychological problems can also cause erectile dysfunction.

A person who experiences deep and chronic anxiety, stress, or depression may find it difficult to get or hold an erection.

Treatments for ED

If erectile dysfunction is a symptom of an underlying medical condition like hypertension or diabetes, the doctor will recommend treatments specific for the ailment.

If there are no underlying medical causes for the condition, the doctor may recommend Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra to treat ED.

 These prescription drugs help to loosen up the muscles surrounding the penis to promote better blood flow. The strong blood flow helps the patient to achieve an erection when his penis is stimulated.

Prostaglandin Alprostadil is another alternative, especially for men who do not want to take medications orally.

The body has compounds called prostaglandin which help the blood vessels to contract and promote stronger blood flow. Alprostadil is injected directly into the penis to activate the prostaglandin and cause an erection.

If ED is a result of low testosterone (a problem common among older men), the doctor may recommend hormone replacement therapy to resolve the erectile problem.

There are mechanical options to help address erectile dysfunction. The vacuum erection device or the penis pump is one such option.

The patient puts his penis in a tube. A pump is used to remove the air in the tube to produce a vacuum.

The penis responds to the vacuum by engorging with blood.

A tension ring is then placed at the foot of the penis so that the penis remains distended.

The penile implant is another option. The doctor implants rods on the sides of the patient’s penis. Some rods are inflatable. They can be inflated with fluid to achieve an erection. Other rods are malleable and semi-rigid. They make achieving an erection easier.

The use of implants requires surgery.

When erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological problems like relationship issues, anxiety, stress, or depression, the doctor may recommend psychotherapy. This intervention helps the patient recognise and address the psychological issues which are behind his erectile problems.