What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction, aka ED, is a disorder in which the penis of a man finds it difficult to be erect during sexual activities. In other words, the penis does not become hard enough to penetrate the vagina. ED is also referred to as impotence at times.

ED can be permanent or even occasional. There are times, when you are tired and stressed, and that time you experience occasional ED. This is something not to be frightened about because it is natural. But if you are having frequent ED, then there is an underlying issue that needs to be diagnosed without any further delay. Also, when your mental health is not in a proper state, that time you might experience ED.

We think males only have one sexual problem, that is, erectile dysfunction. But this is not true as there are other sexual problems like absent ejaculation, premature ejaculation, lack of interest in sex, etc. If any such problem arises, then one should see a doctor immediately.

Symptoms of Erectile dysfunction

There are 3 main symptoms you will experience if you are suffering from erectile dysfunction.

  1. Lack of sexual interest
  2. Difficulty to achieve an erection
  3. Erection not constant during sexual intercourse.

ED can also lead to other problems like

  1. Delayed ejaculation
  2. Premature or early ejaculation
  3. Difficulty in getting orgasm after stimulation

When you are facing such symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor immediately. If you do not consult the doctor and delay the treatment, then the situation may become worse day by day. On average, if you are facing similar symptoms for the past 1 or 2 months, then it is an indication that you must visit a doctor real soon.

Causes of Erectile dysfunction

There are many things that cause ED. Some of them include some underlying diseases, poor emotional health, other disorders, etc.  The major causes of ED are:

  •     drug use
  •     cardiovascular disease
  •     relationship problems
  •     hypertension
  •     alcohol use
  •     diabetes
  •     smoking
  •     damage from cancer or surgery
  •     anxiety
  •     hyperlipidemia
  •     stress
  •     injuries
  •     Age factors
  •     Obesity

Finding out the exact cause for ED can be difficult. But is most of the cases, one of the above reasons are the main causes for ED. ED cannot be treated by self-medication. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult a doctor to get it treated soon.

In-Depth insight on why ED happens

As we all know, erectile dysfunction is a sexual problem where getting an erection becomes a difficult task. But before we know how ED is caused, we must first understand how an erection occurs.

Erection is caused when blood flow increases in the penis. The blood flow to the penis increases when the male is stimulated or with direct contact. During an erection, the muscle of the penis relaxes and the blood flow increases. AS the blood files the chambers in the penis, it leads to an erection. Erection ends when the blood flow reduces and when the muscle contracts.

Now we know how an erection happens, during ED, many stages of the erection may prevent the penis from erection. For example, the muscle may refuse to contract or the blood arteries in the penis may be damaged to carry extra blood.

How can Erectile dysfunction be treated?

If you face or experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then it is high time you get it checked by a doctor. Many times, due to exhaustion and stress, you may experience similar symptoms of ED, but that does not mean you are suffering from ED. If the symptoms persist for more than 2 months, then it is a matter to worry about.

When you visit a doctor to diagnose an ED problem, first the doctor will talk about your lifestyle, family health history, any other diseases you are suffering from, etc. These questions are asked to find if there are any links related to ED.  Then to determine that symptoms are caused due to ED, various tests will be conducted in order to make sure that it is ED and not any side effects of other medicine or lifestyle.

During the physical exam, the doctor will check your breathing pattern, pulse rate, pressure readings, and the health of your testicles and penis. Also, a prostate examination will also be done in order to make sure that you are not suffering from any kind of prostate cancer.

If other tests do not show the desired results, then urine or blood test is done to make sure the underlying problems.

One of the advanced ways in which Erectile dysfunction is diagnosed is via NPT, Nocturnal penile tumescence test). In this test, a portable device that is powered by a battery is attached to your thigh while you are sleeping. The device measures if you are having nocturnal erections and how often. These data are then examined by the doctor to understand whether you are actually suffering from ED or not. This device takes the reading of nocturnal erection especially because, a healthy penis has multiple nocturnal erections at night. So, if your penis is erecting while you are sleeping, then you are not suffering from erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, if your penis is not erecting at night, then you are most probably suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Treatments for ED

Erectile dysfunction is caused by a mixture of factors like psychological issues, side effects of medicine, lifestyle patterns, etc. To treat ED, only medication does not do the trick. A mixed treatment needs to be opted to get the desired results. This treatment includes lifestyle changes, medications, therapies, counseling, etc.

Few treatments which can be opted to cure erectile dysfunction are:

Natural remedies

Natural remedies are one of the best ways to treat erectile dysfunction. Normally, treating this problem with natural herbs and supplements is recommended as these do not have any side effects. But before opting for this treatment, first, you need to talk to your doctor and understand the degree of this problem. If erectile dysfunction is not in a severe stage, then curing with natural herbs and supplements is advisable. Also, you should take precaution before taking these supplements, as they sometimes carry elements which may not suit your body type. Many of these supplements are not regulated in needs to be taken in specific doses. It is always recommended to opt for supplements that are manufactured by reputed brands. Few herbs and supplements which you can check out are:

  • Ginseng
  • DHEA
  • Asparagus racemosus
  • L-arginine
  • Yohimbe

 

Medication

If the erectile dysfunction is in a severe stage, then it is advisable to go for proper medication. Consult a doctor about the problems you are facing. The doctor will prescribe a few medicines that will help to counter the symptoms you are experiencing. The problem with medicines is that you need to try out many medicines before understanding which medicine works best for you. Also, you should note that these chemical medicines have side effects, therefore, you need to be prepared for that as well. If the side effects are ruining your health further, then you should immediately talk to your doctor and change the medicines. Few medicines that improve the blood flow during erection are:

  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • alprostadil (Caverject)
  • vardenafil (Levitra)
  • avanafil (Stendra)
  • testosterone (Androderm)
  • sildenafil (Viagra)

Prostatic massage

As discussed earlier, treating erectile dysfunction can be tricky, as it does not involve only one type of treatment. To cure ED, one has to opt for a range of treatments in order to get the best results. So, apart from taking medications and supplements, one needs to also go for Prostatic massage in order to revitalize the senses in and order your penis. This massage is done to relax the muscles and tissues in your groin area and thus this promotes a better flow of blood. Massages and therapies have given many positive results to patients who were suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Talk Therapy

Erectile dysfunction is caused due to underlying diseases, poor lifestyle pattern or even psychological issues. Poor mental health can give rise to many disorders. Therefore, to be fit and healthy, it is advisable to opt for talk therapies in order to seek for guidance. Few psychological issues which disturb the mental health of an individual are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

Similarly, if erectile dysfunction is affecting your marriage life, then it is advisable to talk to a relationship counselor. Counseling and talking might sound vague, but in cases of ED, it can help you a lot. During these sessions, the therapists will listen to your problems and will give you exact guidance of what you can do in order to improve your mental health.

Pelvic floor muscle exercises

Pelvic floor muscle exercises have produced amazing results over the years. In a study of 55 men, this exercise showed a lot of improvement in just 3 months. Over the course of 6 months, almost 20 men out of 55 men regained normal erection functions.

This exercise is very easy to execute:

Step 1

When you are peeing, stop in midway and feel the muscle which is preventing the pee from flowing. This muscle is referred to as pelvic floor muscle. The contract and release of this muscle determine the urine flow in our penis.

Step 2

Now, you have identified this muscle, contract and release them every 5 to 10 seconds. Do this exercise 4 to 5 times a day. Do this exercise 10 to 20 times in a single set.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one more way of getting your erectile dysfunction treated. Just make sure to go to a practitioner who is certified and uses sterilized needles. You might need to go for several sittings in order to get the best result.

Change of diet and lifestyle

One of the major causes of erectile dysfunction is a poor lifestyle and diet. You need to change your diet as well as your sleeping hours in order to get the desired results. If you are an erectile dysfunction patient, then along with medications and therapies, you need to change your lifestyle. Things you should follow are:

  • Avoid smoking and drinking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eliminate junk food
  • Maintain a proper weight
  • Eat a nutritious balanced diet

Can erectile dysfunction be healed completely?

Erectile dysfunction is a disorder and not a disease. Hence, it cannot be cured completely. All the treatments and medications help to control the symptoms to some extent. Even devices like erectile dysfunction ring will treat it partially.

If you are suffering from any symptoms as mentioned above, you should immediately consult the doctor. Talking about sexual weakness is not at all embarrassing, in fact, it will help you to bring back your self-confidence.