Erectile dysfunction is a medical term for a male-specific condition occurring when an individual cannot have sex due to too weak erection or (in a more severe case) fails to achieve erection at all. The more commonly used name for the problem of soft penis is impotence.
It is important to distinguish between erectile dysfunction as a true problem that requires adequate treatment and sporadic fails that every man may encounter every now and then due to a number of factors. In the latter case, the optimum attitude is to avoid making too much of it.
When you really have reasons for sexual dysfunction, don’t procrastinate with visiting your doctor. Recognized and addressed at an early stage, the problem can be successfully resolved most of the time. You should know that impotence is often caused by an underlying condition, which is to be revealed and expertly treated.
Be aware that it is time to seek professional help when you notice the following symptoms of erectile dysfunction:
- Failure to achieve an erection when you need it;
- Failure to keep an erection the entire coitus long;
- Depleted libido
- Soft penis
What is an erection
When a man gets sexually excited, his nervous system releases certain compounds which boost blood supply to the genital area. As a significant part of the penis consists of cavernous tissues, the male organ accepts an increased amount of blood, thus getting bigger in size and erect.
What come afterwards plays a crucial role for male enhancement. For hard and durable erections, the involved tissues should be able to trap blood and hold it reliably as long as sexual arousal exists.
Once ejaculation occurs, the brain sends another series of nerve signals, which trigger relaxation of the penis tissues and opening the ‘drain valves’. As a result, the organ returns to its initial, flaccid state. It is also useful to know that, while erect penis dimensions can be clearly defined with each man, the penis at rest varies in size significantly subject to multiple factors, such as ambient temperature or worry.
Erectile dysfunction (impotence) causes
Involving rather complicated mental and biochemical processes, erections can have a variety of true causes behind them, which are not always directly related to an obvious trigger of the problem. The below review includes the most popular causes you should be aware of.
Erections are not only about physical performance of the cardiovascular and genitourinary system but rather about the state of mind and psychological experiences. Sexual arousal is a brain-driven activity, which spreads down across the body. When in depression, all emotions fade, and the sexual desire is no exception. Additionally, drugs prescribed for depression tend to suppress libido too.
There is a common misconception out there that alcohol can boost sexual performance in men. While this may be true with small doses, abusing spirits can have a devastating effect on your potency, both in short-term and long-term perspective. Even once erection is achieved, you may encounter problems with finishing. Therefore, limiting alcohol consumption is mandatory for those seeking to get rid of erectile dysfunction.
Medications and drugs
When you undergo a treatment course and receive pills on a regular basis and during an extended period of time, this can cause ed problems. If you notice some of the abovementioned symptoms, ask your doctor about the potential correlation. You should be especially weary when it comes to treating hypertension or depression. Cocaine, marijuana and other street drugs can cause ed even in young men.
When a person is in anger, blood promptly rushes to their face. This occurs at the expense of blood supply to the genital area. Obviously, experiencing the emotion has reverse correlation with erection quality. This is why it is recommendable to avoid anger in relations with your partner.
Generally, potency lowering is proportional to extra pounds around your waist. Unfortunately, obesity becomes a common issue with age. If you are going to be sexually active as long as possible, do your best to stay fit. Gaining weight in the middle age is a result of natural changes in a person’s hormonal profile. So, don’t expect an easy win in this fight.
While depleted libido and erectile dysfunction are closely related, the terms do not have exactly the same meaning. Sex drive can plummet at any age for a number of reasons, including permanent stress, chronic fatigue, low self-esteem and others. When these negative factors become dominating, ED may develop.
Certain health conditions
As we have mentioned above, erectile dysfunction is sometimes just an effect of an underlying chronic or acute condition. Most specifically, the following can be the cause:
- type 2 diabetes;
- cardiovascular dysfunctions;
- chronic kidney conditions;
- Peyronie’s disease;
- prostate- and bladder-related problems;
- spinal cord injuries;
- radiation therapy for cancer;
- past surgery and a rehabilitation period with taking drugs, etc.
Erectile dysfunction (impotence) diagnosis
A proper and timely diagnosis is important for successful ed treatment. Addressed at an early stage, the impotence problem can be resolved in most cases. This is why it is recommendable to consult your doctor as soon as you notice some of the abovementioned symptoms or know that you fall into the risk group due to having one of the above conditions which can be a trigger.
Be prepared that the doctor will ask you some questions and maybe offer undergoing a number of lab tests. Let’s discuss what kind of questions it can be.
Your health history
A patient’s health records are an effective tool that each and every doctor can and must use to diagnose a problem and come up with a treatment scheme. In terms of your health history, you are expected to share with your doctor any past diseases and surgery as well as how your supposed ED has been developing over time, and why actually do you think there are reasons for concern. Also, the doctor will want to know your lifestyle patterns, both current and past. In fact, changes in male performance are sometimes correlated with changes in a patient’s lifestyle, character of daily work, new/broken relationships, etc.
Current health condition
While health history is important for getting insight into the problem, your doctor will base their decision mainly on currently available state of things. In this regard, you will have to tell them about smoking, drinking alcohol and any other bad habits you may have. If you have had cancer radiation therapy or surgery lately, this kind of information should be mentioned too. Also, provide your doctor with a list of medicines, if any, you currently take for any reason, be it recreational remedies, pain killers, productivity-boosting supplements or anything else.
Erectile dysfunction questions
For your doctor, it is important to know why actually you are concerned about your male performance. In fact, sexual activity in men is highly individual and may vary a lot under the influence of diverse factors including, but not limited to, age, happy/unhappy relations, problems at work, general stress, accumulated fatigue, physical activity and even the season of the year.
To help your doctor distinguish between a real problem and ungrounded fears, which are typical for men, provide the specialist with detailed description of supposed symptoms that make you concerned, for example:
- When did you notice the ed symptoms?
- Did they appear abruptly or were developing over an extended period of time?
- Is it that you fail to achieve erections or just are not satisfied with their quality? Do they make penetration possible?
- What kind of stimulation helps achieve the best result and what does work for you?
- Is your sex drive strong enough? Has it dropped lately or decreased over an extended period of time? What events or changes in your life occurred in parallel with this potency deterioration?
- What relations do you have today as compared to those before the problem was detected?
- Are your erections painful? Be prepared that the doctor will probably want to examine your organ to make sure there are no adverse conditions like Peyronie’s disease.
We have already mentioned a patient’s emotional state multiple times, and for a reason. In fact, erectile dysfunction is too often born in an individual’s mind. If not addressed adequately, it can become a chronic condition which requires long and intense treatment. Here is what your doctor may ask you about in this respect:
- Is your work or family relations a source of continuous stress or mental pressure? Has the situation changed over the past months?
- Do you have any reasons for experiencing fits of depression or continuous anxiety?
- Are you satisfied with your current sex life and relations in general? Do you have a new/broken relationship that can be a trigger?
You hardly can expect adequate impotence treatment without undergoing physical examinations conducted by your doctor in person. Not painful yet unpleasant when it comes to a rectal exam, the procedure provides valuable information related to the condition of your prostate, penis, testicles, etc. So, be receptive to your doctor’s request to undergo it.
Undergoing some lab tests is an important part of the diagnosing process. The procedure helps reveal underlying health conditions which often pass unnoticed by a patient himself but can deteriorate his erections drastically. The most common set of tests includes:
- Measuring blood sugar levels (to diagnose diabetes, if any);
- Specialized manipulations to stimulate an erection (to assess quality of your maximum erection);
- CT or MRI of the pelvic area (in case you had a trauma);
- A Nocturnal penile tumescence test (to assess your morning erection).
While it is possible to treat erectile dysfunction most of the time, avoiding the problem proactively is a much smarter approach. Luckily, the goal can be achieved by just following some healthy lifestyle patterns. For example, being mobile and doing exercises on a regular basis is a good way to keep your male performance at a high level subject to your age. Also, giving up alcohol and smoking will add to the effect and can even help at an early ED stage. Consuming healthy foods is another important factor to consider.
On the other hand, it is important to consult your doctor as soon as you notice the first symptoms of sexual performance problems. A treatment they administer to you will help address the underlying cause and prevent the aggravation of the condition.
ED Treatment Approaches
In case you fail to prevent ED, be aware that there are multiple successful treatment methods to choose from. Of course, the decision should be based on your doctor’s advice. Generally, the options include:
- Taking medicines. There are a number of time-tested drugs that your doctor may administer to boost your erections and libido.
- Taking testosterone supplements. Typically based on 100% natural, herbal ingredients, these supplements can balance your testosterone levels and boost blood flow to the penis.
- Vacuum pumps. This simple device is actually a glass bulb, which, put onto the penis, creates suction, thus promoting the blood supply to the organ. Applied repeatedly, the pump can improve quality of reactions on a permanent basis.
- Testosterone replacement therapy. This method is recommended when a patient suffers from depleted testosterone levels. This treatment can be effective when natural T-boosting remedies fail.
- Alprostadil urethral suppository. Inserted into the penis, the suppository causes an erection, which can last up to an hour.
A common health disorder in men, erectile dysfunction can appear almost in any age. After 40s, the possibility soars. The good news is that the condition can be successfully treated most of the time provided it has been diagnosed at an early stage. As usually, prevention is the best option. Therefore, stick to healthy lifestyle and regular physical activity. This will help you keep male performance for a long time.
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