It’s more common than you think!
It’s not uncommon for most people to not always be in the mood when their partner is, which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. While this is entirely normal, if you’re experiencing this frequently, it can be a sign that there’s something wrong. What causes erectile dysfunction to occur? When should you see a doctor? What can be done to treat it?
Erectile dysfunction is when you cannot get and keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. The reason for this can be one of many factors or a combination of them. For a man to be sexually aroused, it requires input from his brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. If something is wrong with any of these, it can impact his ability to have or maintain an erection.
Some physical causes of erectile dysfunction are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, low testosterone levels, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, alcoholism, sleep disorders, enlarged prostate, and certain prescription medications. Some psychological causes are stress, depression, anxiety, or relationship problems. As some men age, it might take longer to develop an erection, and they might not be as firm.
While it’s not abnormal for men of any age to occasionally experience difficulty having or maintaining an erection, if it occurs regularly, then you should talk to your doctor. If you also experience a reduction in your sexual desire, you should talk to your doctor. If you have any of these symptoms and have other health conditions that could contribute to erectile dysfunction, be sure to let your doctor know.
The treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on its cause and severity of it. If you have any underlying health conditions, it’s essential to treat those since they could be a reason why you’re having difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
Nitric oxide is a chemical that your body produces and causes the muscles in the penis to relax, which increases blood flow and allows an erection to occur. Several oral medications help to enhance the effect of nitric oxide, such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, and avanafil. These pills don’t cause an erection by themselves but increase the signal of the nitric oxide once it’s released from the nerves in the penis, which occurs after being sexually stimulated. It’s essential to note that if you take nitrate drugs to help elevate chest pain, you shouldn’t take any of these medications. You also shouldn’t take these medications if you have heart disease, heart failure, or low blood pressure.
Another medication, alprostadil, comes in a few different forms. It can be injected using a small needle into the base or side of the penis or placed as a suppository inside the urethra. With the injection, the dose is designed so that an erection doesn’t last longer than an hour. With the suppository, an erection usually occurs within 10 minutes and last 30 – 60 minutes.
If you can’t take any of the medications, there are a few other options. Penis pumps involve placing a hollow tube with a hand-powered or battery-powered pump. The pump is used to suck out the air inside the tube after it’s placed around the penis. Doing this creates a vacuum that causes blood to fill the penis. After an erection is achieved, a tension ring is placed around the base of the penis before removing the tube. This keeps the blood in the penis to keep the erection, which usually lasts long enough to have sexual intercourse.
Another option is a penile implant. This involves surgery to place devices into both sides of the penis. These are either inflatable or bendable rods. The inflatable rods allow the individual to control when and how long they have an erection. The bendable rods keep the penis firm but bendable. Implants are typically recommended after other methods have been tried unsuccessfully.
There are some other things that you should consider. Several recent studies have shown that exercise, especially moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, can significantly improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. This is definitely true if you’re overweight, but no matter your weight, make sure you talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine. Talking to a psychologist or counselor is also crucial, particularly if you’re feeling stressed, depressed or anxious. If you’re having issues within your relationship in general or due to erectile dysfunction, it can be helpful to talk about it not only with your partner but a therapist as well.
While the ordeal may be concerning, don’t assume it’s a long-term problem. Be sure to stop smoking, don’t drink too much alcohol, and don’t use drugs since these can cause erectile dysfunction. One thing to be wary of is alternative products, like “herbal Viagra,” because they don’t always list everything in them, which can be dangerous, especially for those with heart problems.
The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to manage any existing health conditions you have and to make any necessary lifestyle changes. This means seeing your doctor regularly for checkups. It’s also important to get help for anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Find ways to reduce stress. Exercising several times a week is essential; just do so under the guidance of your doctor. It’s also vital to not smoke or use drugs and to limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
Erectile dysfunction can be concerning, but the good news is that it usually isn’t permanent, and several treatment options exist. If you have any questions or concerns about erectile dysfunction, please speak with your doctor. If you would like more information, please visit Urology Care Foundation’s Erectile Dysfunction page at https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/erectile-dysfunction