Erectile dysfunction— or ED— is the inability to obtain and maintain an adequate erection during sexual intercourse. According to estimates, one out of every ten men will get ED at some point in their life. ED is a common type of male sexual dysfunction. In the US, roughly 30 million men are affected by ED, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). It is critical to recognize that, in most circumstances, ED is a symptom of a larger, underlying condition. ED is not regarded as expected or “normal” at any age and may be coupled with other issues that interfere with healthy and gratifying sexual intercourse, such as lack of desire and orgasm and ejaculation problems.
ED does not have to be a part of aging. While some older men may require more stimulation, they should obtain an erection and enjoy intercourse without any assistance. Moreover, getting an erection less than 20% of the time shouldn’t worry a man. It’s not uncommon, and there’s usually no treatment required when it’s only a sporadic issue. On the other hand, failure to obtain an erection more than 50% of the time indicates an issue typically, and therapy might be necessary.
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Surgery / Injury
- Neurological Disease
- Unknown Causes
Erectile Dysfunction Causes:
Believe it or not, about 10% of erection problems are caused by psychological variables, such as uneasiness, performance anxiety, or fear of failure during sexual intercourse. What happens here? These conditions produce an adrenaline rush that lowers blood supply to the penile area, which frequently leads to erectile dysfunction. Psychological ED has the potential to become self-perpetuating. After multiple failed attempts, the body becomes habituated to producing adrenaline at the mere mention of a sexual encounter. If a man does not treat this on time, then it can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to overcome.
The characteristics of psychological erectile dysfunction include:
Erection is only possible if maintained with one partner but not with another.
Lasting erections are only achieved and maintained in the mornings or during masturbation, not during sexual intercourse.
Younger males with unstable relationships or disturbing prior experiences are also likely to be affected.
Erectile Dysfunction Causes:
Approximately 90% of ED cases are caused by physical causes–vascular (related to blood flow) and non-vascular disorders. It is estimated that vascular diseases alone may account for 70% of all ED visits. Why does this happen? The penis requires a constant and good blood flow to become fully erect, and even a slight decrease in the blood flow might cause issues in achieving an erection. This is also why ED pills, which are one of the most successful medical treatments for ED, increase blood flow in blood vessels in the penis allowing one to get an erection and improving sexual function or erectile function.
This vascular disease or condition where the blood vessels don’t work effectively is known as “vascular insufficiency,” and it is caused or connected with the following risk factors:
High Blood Cholesterol
Poor Overall Circulation
Also, evidence suggests that over 200 prescription drugs may cause, contribute to, or aggravate ED. Even so, don’t stop taking your prescriptions unless otherwise directed by your physician. Still, it’s essential to be on the lookout for any possible damage that may come directly from your medication.
Other physical conditions or causes include:
Hormonal shortages caused by testicular disease, liver disease, or thyroid issues.
Multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson's disease (neurological issues).
Trauma to the pelvic area as a result of some forms of surgery, radiation therapy, or car accidents that result in injured pelvic nerves or arteries.
Chronic diseases such as liver diseases, chronic kidney diseases, and so on.
Peyronie's plaque, also known as Peyronie's disease, is a rare disorder characterized by severe fibrosis in the penile tissue.
Nevertheless, it is not uncommon to notice ED in a person who is otherwise physically and psychologically well. Some studies have proposed that penile circulation is by nature very delicate since it’s an end-artery. With age, obstructions to the blood flow are more common. It usually does not matter, but in older men, it might mean there’s not enough blood flow to the penis during sexual arousal.
Adverse Effects On Daily Life
Erectile dysfunction can induce or exacerbate psychological issues like low motivation, feelings of inadequacy, irritation, denial, and low self-esteem, even leading to mental health issues such as depression. As a result, if left untreated, ED can harm personal, family, and commercial relationships.
How Important Is It to Treat Erectile Dysfunction Proactively?
Erectile dysfunction, like any other medical ailment, is frequently best treated if it’s done as soon as possible. Here are three main reasons to consider treating your erectile dysfunction:
- Diagnosing and resolving the underlying issue frequently helps prevent additional deterioration, which is a natural development of the ailment.
- The inactivity of an organ can result in progressive loss of function due to the progressive loss of healthy tissue. This is known as “disuse atrophy,” and it is especially significant in the case of penile health. Use your penis!
- ED is more than a sexual issue. Satisfying sex life can lead to increased pleasure in many other areas of life, such as social, family, and professional situations.
How is Erectile Dysfunction treated?
There are a lot of treatment options for erectile dysfunction. Depending on severity as well as any underlying causes; here are a few treatment options that can be explored for erectile dysfunction:
- Oral Medication
- Intraurethral medication
- Penile Injections
- Penile Implant
- Testosterone Therapy
- Vacuum Erection Devices
From non-invasive ones like oral medication and shockwave therapy to surgical options like penile implants, more information regarding erectile dysfunction treatment options can be found on our erectile dysfunction treatment page.