Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction, sometimes referred to as ED or impotence, is a condition that affects men; more specifically, a male’s penis is not able to get or stay erect in order to engage in sexual intercourse. The erection may not be firm enough to perform sexual intercourse or it may not be firm at all.


Those at Risk

Potential Causes

Symptoms

Medical Expertise

Diagnosis

Treatment

 


Those at Risk

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition, even among seemingly healthy males. Today,it affects about 30 million men in the United States. Although erectile dysfunction can occur at any adult age, it is most ommonly present in those males aged 40 and older.

 


Potential Causes

Specialists believe many factors can influence a male’s specific erectile dysfunction. Those at risk to experiencing erectile dysfunction may:

  • Be older in age
  • Have other pre-existing medical conditions (mental health disorders, heart conditions, diabetes, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.)
  • Take other prescription or over-the-counter medications regularly
  • Be overweight
  • Live unhealthy or stressful lifestyles
  • Have experienced any aggressive pelvic injuries

Symptoms

Individuals with erectile dysfunction will experience little to know effectiveness when trying to naturally yield or maintain an erection. That being said, a repetitive cycle of ineffective erections may lead to further complications:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of intimacy between the affected individual and his partner
  • Inability to fertilize an egg in order to foster pregnancy
  • Unfulfilled sex life

Medical Expertise

Your primary care physician will guide you through an initial diagnosis. If the primary care physician cannot accomplish this based on the resources available, he or she may refer you to a urologist or sex therapist

A urologist is a physician that deals with diseases of the male and female urinary tract , including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. A urologist may also diagnose and treat conditions related to specific male organs, like the penis, testes, scrotum, and prostate.

A sex therapist is a mental health professional with extensive knowledge and training in sexual relations. A sex therapist may be a psychologist or a psychiatrist depending on the patient’s specific needs. A sex therapist will not only be able to accurately diagnose the condition, but he or she will be able to offer a variety of treatment options that may include behavioral therapy, general couple’s therapy, or medication


Diagnosis

In order to accurately diagnose erectile dysfunction, your physician might want to perform one of more of these exams:

  • Physical exam (manually examines a male’s penis, testes, and surrounding nerves for sensation)
  • Urine test (examines male for signs of diabetes, heart disease, or other underlying conditions that could cause erectile dysfunction through a urine sample)
  • Blood test (examines male for signs of imbalanced hormone levels, diabetes, heart disease, or other underlying conditions that could cause erectile dysfunction through a blood sample)
  • Ultrasound (examines the blood vessels that supply the penis with blood through a transducer)
  • Psychological exam (verbally examines male for signs of depression, anxiety, or other underlying mental health conditions)

Treatment

Erectile dysfunction will likely require some form of treatment. Your physician will recommend appropriate treatment which may include(but is not limited to):

  • Medication (sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil, etc.)
  • Hormone supplements (testosterone or other hormones)
  • Therapy (independent behavioral therapy, general couples therapy, etc.)
  • Self-care (eliminate smoking or tobacco use, physical exercise, sobriety, healthy diet, increased water consumption, etc.)