What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, commonly known as ED, is the inability to maintain or get an erection. Generally, people call it impotence. The condition is often found in older men between age 40 and 70. It is even estimated that half the population of men worldwide will experience impotency to some degree.
How does a person get an erection?
An erection is a process where blood circulation increases and focuses on the penis. This flow is stimulated by direct contact or simply by sexual thoughts. The muscles in the penis relax as it gets erected. It promotes blood flow to the penile arteries and goes to two chambers of the corpora cavernosa. Due to the blood filling the chambers, it gets rigid and stiff. The erection process ends as the blood flows through the veins.
The problem with erectile function is that the process is incomplete. It can happen in the first stage or the last stage.For instance, if penile arteries can’t properly open, the blood can’t get in.
There are many factors that contribute to erectile dysfunction:
- damage from surgery;
- alcohol addiction;
- drug abuse;
- anxiety disorders;
- cardiovascular disease;
- or the combination of two or three factors above.
Erectile dysfunction can happen due to physical or psychological factors like hormonal problems, high cholesterol, or even relationship problems.
There are also many different types of ED, like the ability to get an erection when masturbating but then not being able to achieve an erection when you are with your partner. Thus, it could be a stress-related dysfunction that occurs in any circumstances.
How to diagnose it?
Most people with this dysfunction are embarrassed and prefer to let it be untreated rather than talk about it. This condition could get worse and it should be identified as soon as possible. Your doctor can diagnose the symptoms by conducting tests and examinations.
How to treat it?
Erectile dysfunction has to be treated from its roots. The cause of the problem can either be physical or psychological. The most common cause is atherosclerosis – a condition where arteries are narrowed. There are many tips that your doctor may ask you to do, such as changing your habits or lifestyle or improving your health in general. A healthier lifestyle may relieve the symptoms significantly besides taking medication.
Indeed, there are medications to treat atherosclerosis. Some of them may contain a cholesterol reduction property so the status is lowered down. Other common medications, such as Viagra, can be used in some cases but in moderate consumption. Another way is to use a tool like a vacuum pump to help push the blood flow to the penis and cause an erection. In most cases, this trick is proven to be successful.
Another treatment is by using sex therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. For more than a decade, this method has been used and proven to bring improvements to the patients.
The underlying conditions
If a person’s ED is caused by a health condition like diabetes or heart disease, then the illness itself has to be initially treated. Sometimes when the problem is solved, the condition gets better. Some patients take medication that causes ED. This can also be treated by stopping the medication and taking another alternative prescribed by your doctor instead. The doctor will advise you to use other treatments and ask you to take care of your health or lifestyle.
Making lifestyle changes
Treating erectile dysfunction can also be done with changes in habits, for instance, losing weight or giving up alcohol. Avid smokers may also try to stop smoking. It’s necessary to cut back on the bad habits and to do regular exercise – things that can improve health overall. It may not only cure it but also improve the health in general. You can reduce the risk of getting a serious disease like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. A person with a healthy lifestyle has a small risk of getting erectile dysfunction.