Erectile dysfunction, sometimes referred to as impotence, is the inability to achieve and sustain an erection suitable for sexual activity.
It’s not uncommon for men to have this problem occasionally, but when it happens consistently or more than half the time, you could have ED.
ED is sometimes temporary, or it can turn into a long-term condition that requires treatment.
But, how common is erectile dysfunction?
We’ll take a look in the article below.
What’s Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a man cannot achieve and maintain an erection firm enough to have a good sex life.
Men with ED have a decreased blood flow in the blood vessels to the penis, which can be caused by prescription medication or a health condition like high blood pressure.
Some of the most common symptoms of ED are:
- The inability to get an erection
- The failure to maintain an erection
- Reduced interest in sexual activity
- Low self-esteem
If you have any of these symptoms, you may be at risk of erectile dysfunction.
Your ED specialist will perform a physical exam and review your medical history to check for pre-existing conditions like heart disease.
ED may also be a warning sign of a severe underlying medical condition like cardiovascular disease, so they may also order blood tests to check for other medical problems.
Is Erectile Dysfunction Common?
Erectile dysfunction is nothing to be embarrassed about because it is a very common condition.
There are 15 million to 30 million men in the United States who have it.
About 1 in 10 men will experience ED at some point in their lifetime.
Erectile Dysfunction can be anything from complete impotence to unsatisfactory performance.
(Check out our article, Performance Anxiety & Erectile Dysfunction, What’s The Difference?)
The chances of experiencing Erectile Dysfunction increases with age.
Between 15% and 25% of 65-year-old men experience this problem.
ED usually has a physical cause in older men, such as a drug side effect, disease, or injury.
Anything that damages the nerves or impairs blood flow in the penis can cause ED.
The prevalence of erectile dysfunction is only expected to grow in the future.
To diagnose a case of ED, a health specialist will:
- Review their patient’s medical or sexual history to look for conditions. This will also differentiate problems with erection, ejaculation, orgasm, or sexual desire.
- Perform a physical examination to look for evidence of systemic problems, like:
- Problems in the nervous system if the penis does not respond as expected to certain tests.
- Secondary sex characteristics, such as hair patterns, can point to hormonal problems.
- An aneurysm could indicate poor circulatory health.
- Order laboratory tests, including blood counts, urinalysis, lipid profile, and measurements of creatinine and liver enzymes. They will also check testosterone levels, especially in men with a history of decreased libido or diabetes.
- Perform a psychosocial examination to reveal psychological factors affecting performance. They will ask you questions to determine what you and your sexual partners encountered during sexual intercourse.
Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction
There are several different things that can cause impairment in erectile function.
Physical and health conditions can cause issues with nerve signals or blood flow to the penis.
Side effects from medication, including antidepressants, blood pressure medication, tranquilizers, sedatives, ulcer medication, and prostate cancer therapy, can also lead to ED.
The most easily remedied causes of ED are lifestyle behaviors.
Things like smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise, and substance abuse, like heavy alcohol consumption or drug use, can cause a man to develop ED.
And your emotions can also lead to ED.
Relationship issues, anxiety over a previous failure, everyday stress, depression, and feeling unattractive to your partner can all make it hard to achieve or sustain an erection.
Are There Risk Factors For Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is also a symptom that accompanies many health disorders and diseases.
Direct risk factors for erectile dysfunction can include:
- Prostate problems
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Vascular disease and vascular surgery
- High levels of blood cholesterol
- Low levels of HDL
- Chronic sleep disorders
- Drug use
- Neurogenic disorders
- Peyronie’s disease
- Alcohol use
- Inadequate interpersonal relationships
- Chronic diseases like renal failure and dialysis
If you are dealing with any of these risk factors, you may experience erectile dysfunction. And while it is a common medical issue, it’s still something that no man wants to face.
But there are a number of treatments for erectile dysfunction that can help a man feel like himself again and improve his quality of life.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction
Sometimes improving your sexual dysfunction is as easy as eating a healthy diet, exercising, and seeking medical attention for underlying health conditions.
But if your problems with sexual performance go beyond lifestyle factors, other things can be done.
Men suffering from ED can take a group of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors (phosphodiesterase-5).
You can take most of these pills 30 to 60 minutes before sex.
The most well-known of these pills is sildenafil (Viagra).
Other options are:
- vardenafil (Levitra)
- tadalafil (Cialis)
- avanafil (Stendra)
A PDE-5 inhibitor is only available as a prescription from your doctor.
Your doctor will check for heart conditions and ask about other medications you might be taking before prescribing them.
Some side-effects associated with PDE-5 inhibitors are:
- visual abnormalities
- hearing loss
Shockwave Treatment For ED
One of the newer treatments being used to treat erectile difficulties is shockwave treatment, also known as acoustic wave therapy.
This treatment has been used in the medical world for a number of years to help promote healing by increasing blood flow.
To help treat ED the health care professional uses a wand-like device that emits low-intensity shockwaves around the penis.
Acoustic wave treatment for ED helps promote blood flow to the erectile tissue and can help some men dealing with mild to moderate ED achieve normal healthy erections without the use of pills.
If the oral medications or acoustic wave therapy don’t work, you may have to opt for surgical treatments.
Several surgical treatment options, like a penile implant or penis pump, are available.
To do this, your doctor inserts a malleable or inflatable device into the penis.
This should help you reach and maintain erections if drug-based treatments aren’t working.
A patient may undergo vascular surgery to treat ED in very rare cases.
Typically a doctor will only recommend surgery after exhausting all other treatment options.
Visit Choice Men’s Health Erectile Dysfunction Clinic Today!
Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that many men, unfortunately, choose not to talk about.
If you think you have ED, Erectile Dysfunction Clinics specialize in diagnosing and treating erectile dysfunction.
The certified medical professionals at Choice Men’s Health offer numerous erectile dysfunction treatment options to help men reconnect with their partners.
We have discreet and confidential one-on-one appointments and have high success rates with our treatments.
We can help you get you to have an active sex life back with our customized ED treatment plans.
If you are experiencing any early warning signs or have questions about erectile dysfunction, Choice Men’s Health is the best erectile dysfunction clinic in Atlanta, helping men have great sex again.