What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Episodes of temporary erectile dysfunction do not necessarily have to be cause for concern. But if erectile dysfunction is a regular problem, a man gets psychological problems in the relationship between a man and a woman, low self-esteem, stress, and depression.
Most men with erectile problems do not want to visit a doctor. The main reason is the fear of discussing this intimate problem with another person.
However, not all men know that erectile dysfunction is sometimes caused by completely different disorders, which sometimes threaten human life. These are diabetes, atherosclerosis, diseases of a liver. Often, to get rid of erectile dysfunction, a man needs a timely treatment of the underlying disease.
Another fact is that most erectile disorders are treatable.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction
- problems with erection;
- problems with maintaining an erection;
- decreased sexual desire.
What kind of doctor should I see for erectile dysfunction?
The first doctor to see in case of erectile dysfunction is a therapist. In some cases, this is the correct decision, since erectile dysfunction can be caused by a number of other diseases. However, one doctor cannot be competent in all areas of medicine, therefore, a man needs a specialized approach. Our advice is to visit a urologist or an andrologist.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
Sexual arousal and the onset of an erection is a complex process that involves a chain of the brain, hormones, nerve fibers, muscles, blood vessels, etc. Erectile dysfunction occurs as a result of a problem in some of these areas. Other causes of erectile dysfunction are stress and other psychological factors.
Physical causes of erectile dysfunction
- Heart diseases;
- deposition of cholesterol plaques on the walls of blood vessels (atherosclerosis);
- high blood pressure;
- metabolic syndrome;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- multiple sclerosis;
- low testosterone;
- Peyronie’s disease (curvature of the penis due to scar deformation of the penis tissue);
- taking certain medications that reduce potency;
- tobacco smoking;
- hormonal therapy (for example, in prostate cancer);
- surgery, trauma to the spine or pelvic organs.
Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction
- depression, anxiety or other mental disorders;
- problems in relations.
The brain plays a key role in launching a number of physical processes that help achieve an erection. And this process starts with a sexual arousal. A number of psychological processes can affect sexual emotions, causing erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction risk factors
- diabetes mellitus;
- cardiovascular problems;
- overweight (obesity);
- postoperative surgery on the prostate gland or radiation therapy for cancer;
- the trauma of the pelvis or spine;
- medicines, including antidepressants, antihistamines, antihypertensive drugs;
- psychological conditions such as stress, anxiety or depression;
- taking drugs and alcohol, especially for a long time;
- long cycling can contribute to the compression of nerve trunks and blood vessels – which also leads to temporary (situational) impotence.
With age, it becomes more difficult to achieve an erection – it requires stronger emotional and physical stimulation. However, erectile dysfunction is not a direct consequence of aging. Usually, this is the result of the above major health problems or taking medications that negatively affect potency.
Complications of erectile dysfunction
- dissatisfaction with sex life;
- stress and anxiety;
- low self-esteem;
- problems in family relations;
- difficulties in conceiving a child and much more.
Often, erectile dysfunction entails the above serious mental disorders, and such changes become noticeable to all people around.
What to do before visiting a urologist?
- Ask your doctor what you need to do in advance, for example, the doctor may ask you not to eat until you come to a medical facility for blood testing.
- Write down all the symptoms that bother you, because during the visit you can miss some important details of your illness
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins, herbal remedies and supplements that you take or have taken earlier
- Write down the questions that you would like to ask the doctor. In the case of erectile dysfunction, the questions can include:
- “What tests do I need to take, and what kind of research needs to be done?”
- “What could cause erectile dysfunction in my case?”
- “Is my erectile dysfunction temporary or is it a permanent problem?”
- “Are there any brochures or other printed materials that I can take home? What sites do you recommend to visit?”, etc.
Diagnosis of erectile dysfunction
- Physical examination: examination of the penis, testicles, sensitivity testing;
- General (clinical) blood test;
- Analysis of urine;
- Ultrasonics of the penis and testicles, dopplerography of the vessels of the penis;
- Night test for an erection. Most men do not control an erection during sleep and do not remember it. This test helps the doctor to distinguish between the psychological and functional cause of erectile dysfunction.
Most diagnostic tests the doctor can take during the visit and after a detailed explanation of the history of the disease.
Treatment of erectile dysfunction
In order to prescribe the right treatment for erectile dysfunction, your doctor will need to find out the cause of the disease. Then he will advise the necessary treatment or give a referral to another specialist, for example, a therapist, a cardiologist, an endocrinologist.
Treatment of erectile dysfunction often includes oral medications:
- Viagra (Sildenafil);
- Cialis (Tadalafil);
- Levitra (Vardenafil).
The mechanism of action of these three drugs is similar. They trigger a chain of reactions, increasing the delivery of nitric oxide. The result of this process is a relaxation of the penis muscle. These drugs increase the flow of blood and allow you to achieve an erection in response to sexual stimulation. These drugs differ in dosage, duration of exposure and side effects. A doctor should choose one of these drugs, guided by your individual characteristics. You can buy these ED medications in Canadian Health Care Mall on beneficial conditions. The store sells both original and generic drugs for ED.
Before taking any medication for erectile dysfunction (including over-the-counter drugs, supplements or herbal remedies), consult your doctor. Although many drugs have a positive effect on erectile dysfunction, we recommend that you do not take the medication without doctor’s advice.
Watch an informative video about erectile dysfunction causes, symptoms and treatment: