All you need to know about Erectile Dysfunction
It is normal for men to have occasional issues getting or keeping an erection. However, if the problem becomes more frequent, then it is recommended to visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Erectile dysfunction problems might persist because of underlying health or emotional and relationship issues. The sooner you get yourself checked, the better it would be to treat the condition.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) refers to the inability to get or maintain a penile erection for sexual intercourse. In earlier days, ED was also referred to as impotence.
Without proper diagnosis and treatment, it can be difficult for an individual to cure erectile dysfunction. Further, ED in men over 40 is a major warning of cardiovascular conditions.
Erectile dysfunction symptoms
Erectile dysfunction can be diagnosed in males across all age groups. However, it is slightly more common in men in their late 40s and early 50s.
The following symptoms suggest erectile dysfunction in men:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection long enough to finish the sexual act
- Premature ejaculation
- Reduced libido
- Self-esteem issues
- Low confidence
- Feeling guilty or embarrassed while indulging in sexual activities
Erectile dysfunction causes
Men can experience erectile dysfunction due to health problems or sometimes due to underlying and undiscovered emotional troubles:
Physical causes of ED
- Cardiovascular diseases
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sleep disorders
- Liver cirrhosis
- Kidney diseases
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Excessive drinking and smoking
- Drug abuse
Emotional causes of ED
- High stress
- Low self-esteem and confidence
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Performance pressure and anxiety
- Relationship troubles
Erectile dysfunction diagnosis
Once you visit a doctor regarding your erectile problems, they will ask you questions about your medical history and order some physical tests to better understand your situation.
These physical tests will help diagnose the real cause of your situation or any other probable underlying health problems. Additionally, some routine medical tests will also be carried out like urine tests, blood tests, thyroid tests, etc.
An ultrasound will help determine if there is any problem with the flow of blood into the penis.
An erection is the result of increased blood flow into the penis. Sexual thoughts and foreplay before sexual intercourse stimulate the blood flow.
Hence, if the blood is not flowing into the penis properly and the penis fails to become erect during sexual activities, it can be determined through an ultrasound.
Intracavernosal injection test
A medicated drug is inserted into the penis during the injection test to stimulate an erection. Once the penis is erect, the doctor will check the firmness and how long does the erection last.
This test is often combined with other physical exams like ultrasound and urine tests to give the doctor a proper overview of erectile dysfunction.
Nocturnal penile tumescence test
A nocturnal penile tumescence test (NPT) is performed to analyse erections during sleep.
It is common for men to have 3-4 erections during a normal cycle of deep sleep. To check the erections, an electrical device is worn on the thigh to store data.
The data is then accessed later by the doctor to make a diagnosis.
Common questions about ED
Dealing with erectile dysfunction can be emotionally and mentally draining. It is completely normal to have numerous doubts and queries in your mind.
Here are some common questions about ED that you can ask during doctor consultations:
- Is ED a curable condition?
- What are some common erectile dysfunction causes?
- How do I know if I have ED?
- What are the best treatment options available?
- Will ED affect fertility?
- Do erectile dysfunction exercises help?
- Do lifestyle changes help in managing ED?
Erectile dysfunction treatment
The treatment for erectile dysfunction starts with making some lifestyle changes and taking care of your cardiovascular health.
Some erectile issues can be treated by small changes like losing weight, doing erectile dysfunction exercises, avoiding alcohol/smoking, relieving stress, etc.
Apart from the lifestyle changes, your doctor will begin by suggesting some non-invasive medical treatments. These are known to have worked effectively and safely:
- Penile injections
- Testosterone therapy
- Vacuum erection devices
- Intraurethral medicines
- Oral drugs (Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, Stendra)
You might experience some side effects like headache, indigestion, facial flushing, stuffy nose, or muscle pain after taking oral medication. However, do not be alarmed as these side effects are only short-lived and mild.
Erectile dysfunction is not only caused due to health problems but also emotional issues.
Emotional stress or relationship anxiety can creep into your mind while performing sexual activities, making it difficult for you to experience pleasure out of it.
However, psychological treatment options like counselling sessions with a trained counsellor can help you address your emotional issues and needs.
Sex therapy has also proved to be beneficial for many men. A skilled sex therapist can help you identify your sexual needs and how to effectively communicate with your partner regarding the same.
Penile implants are one of the major surgical treatment options available for treating erectile dysfunction.
Penile implants, also referred to as penile prostheses, are placed inside the male reproductive organ to stimulate an erect penis during sexual intimacy and intercourse.
However, this surgical treatment is not advisable for ageing men. Their options are limited to medical and therapeutic erectile dysfunction treatments.
There are two kinds of penile implants, namely, semi-rigid implants and inflatable implants.
The semi-rigid implant is made using silicone, which gives firmness during sexual penetration and can be easily bent downward and upward during peeing.
The inflatable implant, on the other hand, is inflated through a pump placed inside the scrotum. When the pump is engaged during sexual activity, the penis inflates and becomes erect. Using the pump in the scrotum, men can easily manage the firmness and size of the erection.
Taking action is crucial if you notice erectile dysfunction problems more than 50% of the time in your overall sexual activities.
While it might be embarrassing to communicate about this issue, do not hesitate to reach out for help. A professional will not only help you diagnose and treat the condition but will also respect your privacy by keeping all the information confidential.
Visit the CK Birla Hospital(R) or book an appointment with Dr. Shalabh Agrawal to learn more about your condition and get the best treatment for erectile dysfunction.
#1 How can you fix your erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can be treated through several medical, surgical, and psychological treatments.
Medical treatments include solutions like penile injections and testosterone therapy. The penile implant option is available for surgical treatments, depending on factors like age and medical history.
#2 Can erectile dysfunction get cured?
Yes, erectile dysfunction can be cured through several medical and psychological treatments.
The situation can also be improved by making some lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol, exercising regularly, improving cardiovascular health, etc.
#3 How can I test for erectile dysfunction at home?
It is not advisable to indulge in self-testing for erectile dysfunction at home.
You can visit a doctor to seek professional diagnosis and treatment. A doctor can conduct physical exams to understand your situation better.
#4 What is the main cause of erectile dysfunction?
Some of the main causes of erectile dysfunction are underlying health problems like cardiovascular diseases, obesity, high blood pressure, etc.
Erectile dysfunction is often also caused due to emotional issues also like anxiety, stress, and low self-esteem.