Erectile dysfunction, also called impotence, is a condition occurring when a man cannot get an erection at all or when the erection is not firm enough for sexual intercourse. There are many different causes and symptoms associated with erectile dysfunction, and it can either be chronic where it lasts for long periods of time, or acute where it is temporary and short-lived. Some of the more common causes of erectile dysfunction are emotional and relationship problems, stress, and a variety of medical conditions. The main symptoms of erectile dysfunction include not getting an erection, not being able to keep an erection or lack of sexual desire.
There are many different causes of erectile dysfunction, many of which are physical. These causes include clogged blood vessels, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, metabolic syndrome, low testosterone, Peyronie’s disease, tobacco use, prescription medication use, alcoholism, substance abuse, injury to the pelvic area or spinal cord, surgery in the same areas, or treatments for prostate cancer.
The erectile dysfunction can also be caused by different psychological reasons. This includes depression, anxiety, stress, relationship issues, or other mental health disorders. You may notice that the erectile dysfunction is only on certain occasions, such as after fighting with your spouse, when you have a lot of work stress, or during your peak anxiety times.
Risk Factors and Complications
There are also risk factors, including certain medical conditions, tobacco and alcohol use, medications such as anti-depressants or anti-histamines, obesity, injuries, psychological conditions, or prolonged bicycle riding. Complications from erectile dysfunction include embarrassment, low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, infertility, unsatisfactory sex life, and relationship problems.
Diagnosing and Treating Erectile Dysfunction
A variety of tests are completed to look for medical-related causes of the condition. This includes a physical examination, blood test, urine test, ultrasound, overnight erection test, or a psychological exam. Treatments include medications like Viagra, Cialis, Staxyn, Levitra, Alprostadil self-injection, Alprostadil penis suppository, or testosterone replacement. Aside from medications, implants, surgery, and penis pumps can also be used for treatment options. A penis pump, also called a vacuum erection device, works by inserting a hollow tube over your penis and letting the pump suck air up inside the tube. It works like a vacuum to pull blood into your penis and cause an erection where you then place a tension ring around it. A penile implant can also be used which involves surgically placing a device on both sides of your penis which are either semi-rigid or inflatable rods. This controls when you have an erection. You can also get blood vessel surgery though this is the rarest type of treatment for erectile dysfunction. Lastly, if the cause is due to stress or a mental health disorder, that is treated with therapy or psychological counseling.