What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, or ED for short is a condition that affects older men. By definition, erectile dysfunction is the inability of an individual to get their ‘manhood’ up and maintain it long enough for intercourse.
The condition is not life-threatening and yet it’s a difficult and often embarrassing topic to discuss with loved ones or their doctors. Left alone, ED may impair a couple’s intimacy and passion over time.
Erectile Dysfunction brings low self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression.
Symptoms of impotence include the following:
- Inability to keep the male organ erect
- Unpredictability in terms of erections
- Being able to get their manhood up but only for a short time
What causes Erectile Dysfunction?
It is worthy to note that ED isn’t a cause but rather a sign that there could be underlying health conditions, e.g. psychological or physical issues.
Physical Erectile Dysfunction Causes
- Blood vessel condition, e.g. cavernosal insufficiency
- Side effect of medication
- Heart diseases
- Neurological conditions
- Low testosterone
- Prostate disease, Peyronie’s and other structural impairment
Psychological Erectile Dysfunction Causes
- Too much stress
There are several behavioural and lifestyle aspects associated with ED as well, including excessive alcohol intake, smoking, living a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and using recreational drugs.
What to expect during my consultation?
Men are often worried about what to expect when visiting a doctor for suspected erectile dysfunction.
Our doctors ensure that patient’s concerns are addressed during their consultation and provide you a comfortable setting to share your medical history, accompanied by an interview on your relationship and lifestyle.
A physical examination of your blood pressure, rectum, prostate, and genital will then follow. Depending on the doctor’s findings, additional blood tests may also be recommended to check for other underlying conditions.
What can I do for Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction symptoms may lessen when you make positive changes in your lifestyle. It’s recommended that you immediately stop using recreational drugs and cigarettes, as well as reduce alcoholic intake
Eating healthy and exercise becomes a priority. Start aiming towards a healthy body weight and increase your level of exercise per week. In today’s world, it’s now more important than ever to manage your stress levels. Meditation, going out with friends, or engaging in your favorite hobby can help.
Behavioural Counselling and Therapy
In order to address the psychological issues that ED can bring, one may be recommended to visit a therapist to seek professional guidance.
Drugs to combat erectile dysfunction mostly contain PDE5 inhibitors, which relaxes the smooth muscles and allows blood flow into the penis, thereby providing an erection. It is usually consumed a few hours before activity and depending on which medication, the effects can last for a couple of hours. This is usually the treatment of choice amongst patients as this is the least invasive with good results.
Self-injectable medicine, such as alprostadil are available for those who want improved blood flow to the penis, thereby allowing for a sustainable erection. Your doctor will show you how to properly use injections to minimize the risk of misuse.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
ESWT, or extracorporeal shockwave therapy is another alternative for those who are suffering from erectile dysfunction. Your doctor will administer low-level shock waves directed at the penis to encourage the growth of new blood vessels in the area. This painless treatment is normally repeated until the individual gets the desired result.
Surgery to treat impotence is usually the last option when every other treatment has not worked. An expert urologist will be guiding you on the procedure and how it works. Surgery for ED is usually done by either rebuilding the individual’s blood vessels to restore normal blood flow or putting an implant to keep the penis erect.
I'm young. Am I at risk of getting ED?
Yes, even young people are at risk of getting ED. This is because there are two main causes of ED; psychological and physical.
The main psychological causes include depression, relationship conflicts, sexual boredom, stress, and anxiety among others.
On the other hand, physical causes can include, side effects of prescribed drugs, spinal cord injury, diabetes, atherosclerosis, regular heavy drinking, and perhaps prostate gland surgery amongst others.
Are oral medications for ED also effective in treating premature ejaculation?
Yes, indeed. Oral medications that are used to treat erectile dysfunction may also help with premature ejaculation.
Will I become addicted to ED medications like Viagra? What are the possible side effects?
While Viagra and other ED medications aren’t physically addictive, it is very possible for people who use these medications improperly, at an overly high dose, or without a doctor’s prescription to become psychologically dependent on them.
It is also imperative to note that abusing ED medications not only increases psychological dependence, but equally enhances the risk of other common side effects such as nasal congestion, headaches, vision issues, and possibly digestive issues.
I'm worried about getting ED as my age advances. Are there any preemptive measures I can take?
- You’ll need to quit smoking if you are a smoker. If you experience any trouble quitting, get help from professionals.
- Cut down your weight: Being overweight can potentially cause or worsen erectile dysfunction.
- Incorporate physical activity in your lifestyle routine: Exercise does not only increases the flow of blood to your penile region, but it also reduces your risk of developing serious health conditions linked to ED such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.
- Get treatment for alcohol or drug-related problems.
- Work through your relationship issues; Relationship problems can also cause someone to develop ED.
How do I know if I have erectile dysfunction?
There are a number of erectile dysfunction symptoms that you should keenly watch out for including:
- Reduced sex drive
- Difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection during sexual activities
- Trouble getting an erection
Can I have sex if I have ED?
Yes, a sexual encounter is still very possible with ED, especially after adequate treatment!
Is there a common age that ED occurs?
The probability that you will develop erectile dysfunction increases as you age. However, the aging process itself does not cause ED. Nearly 12% of men under the age of 60 experience ED, 22% of men aged between 60 and 70, and approximately 30% of males aged 70 and above experience ED symptoms.
What treatments are available for ED?
Treatment for ED mainly depends on whether your problem is caused by physical or psychological causes or a combination of the two. Even if ED is a result of a physical cause, it usually has an adverse psychological impact that can potentially worsen the situation. The following treatment options are available:
- Oral medication
- Vacuum devices
- Penile implants
- Psychological or behavioral therapy
- Alteration of existing medication for other health conditions