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Erectile dysfunction is commonly referred to as impotence. Erectile dysfunction is the most common sexual disorder. The global prevalence range from 2% in men younger than 40 years to 86% in men 80 years or older.   

It occurs when a male is unable to keep or maintain an erection. Nearly all men will experience erectile dysfunction at some time in their lives. Once it becomes an ongoing issue, it is time to seek help.   

Because men with erectile dysfunction are often unable to have sex, it can put a strain on relationships and affect their confidence. It can also be linked to other health problems, such as heart defects and blood pressure problems. In some cases, the condition can be reversed, and in others, it can only be treated.  

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Sexual arousal is a complicated process. No one part of the body is responsible for it. It involves many different hormones and organs. It can sometimes be hard to determine the exact cause of erectile dysfunction for this reason. Both physical and psychological factors can cause erectile dysfunction.  

Physical Causes

Psychological Causes

  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Relationship problems
  • Stress

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

 The symptoms of erectile function vary from individual to individual. They usually come on gradually but are easily noticed. They include:

  • Failure to get an erection
  • Failure to maintain an erection
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Low self-esteem
  • Unsatisfactory sex

Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction

The diagnosis is often based on symptoms. The real diagnosis comes when the doctor can identify the reason for the erectile dysfunction. In most cases, there is an underlying cause. Once it is identified, treatment can be planned and begun. There are several different ways doctors can diagnose erectile dysfunction.

  • Physical Exam – The doctor will look at the penis and make sure there are no physical problems with it.
  • Blood Test – A blood test can help determine if there are any signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone, or any other health problems that could be causing the impotence.
  • Urine Test – Urine tests can check for diabetes and other health problems.
  • Ultrasound – Doctors may perform an ultrasound to look inside the sexual organs to determine if there are any signs of cancer or other internal problems.
  • Psychological exam – To determine if the problem may be psychological, doctors may conduct a psychological exam. This may consist of a series of questions, tests, and more.

Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

The treatment for erectile dysfunction is based on the underlying cause. The most common types of treatments include:

  • Oral Medications – These types of medication can help men achieve harder and longer-lasting erections. Most are taken as needed, usually a short time before sex.
  • Injections – Penile injections can be self-administered. They help men achieve erections that can last up to an hour. Testosterone can also be injected to help replace the natural hormones and improve erections.
  • Penis Pump – A penis pump is used to pump blood to the penis to help it become and stay erect.
  • Penile Implants – Penile implants are inserted on the sides of the penis. They can be made from inflatable materials or bendable rods. The inflatable materials can be controlled, and the bendable rods stay firm but are flexible when an erection is not desired.
  • Counseling – In cases where the erectile dysfunction is determined to be psychological, counseling may be used to treat the problem.
  • Suppositories – Small suppositories that fit into the urethra can help improve and lengthen erections. They are inserted with special applicators.

Prognosis of Erectile Dysfunction

The prognosis for someone with erectile dysfunction is very good. As long as the underlying cause can be found, the problem can be corrected and the sufferer can live a normal life and even have a healthy sex life.  

Did you also know that smoking can be a cause of erectile dysfunction?

Resources:

Urology, Erectile Dysfunction


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