Gents – hang on. Don’t click away too quickly. Even if this information doesn’t apply to you now, chances are one day it could. In truth, erectile dysfunction (ED) is experienced by most men at some point in their lives, even if it’s only once or twice. Here’s what you need to know about ED: what it is, why it sometimes happens and how you can deal with it.

To recap, erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence) is defined as the inability to develop or maintain an erection. The result of reduced blood flow to the penis, it can occur one time or become a recurrent issue, depending on what the underlying cause may be. The reasons for developing ED are varied and numerous, stemming from both physical and psychological factors.

Physical causes of ED

Erectile dysfunction often occurs as an inevitable result of the aging process. That sounds depressing, but it’s a fact of life. Men in their 60’s are 4 times more likely to experience ED than men in their 40’s. But it does affect younger men too, in particular those who smoke or take drugs.

Below are some of the common physical causes of ED:

  • Excess alcohol – alcohol can cause desensitization of the penis
  • Drug abuse – in particular tobacco, steroids and antidepressants
  • Atherosclerosis – where clogged arteries interfere with circulation
  • Obesity – this puts you at greater risk or diabetes and hypertension
  • Diabetes – this can cause problems with the blood flow and nervous system
  • Hormonal disorders – for example low testosterone or high prolactin
  • Prostate surgery – ED is a known potential side effect
  • Neurological conditions – reduced nerve sensations can contribute to ED
  • Kidney problems – impacting circulation, hormone and energy levels
  • Exhaustion – pure tiredness can be enough to cause impotence

Psychological causes of ED

Unlike a physical issue, it’s possible to experience psychological impotence as a result of other stressors in your life, or feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Unfortunately, this can be a sensitive topic for some men to open up about, since many feel immense pressure to maintain an image of unyielding masculinity – which of course, can make the whole thing worse.

Here are the known psychological causes of erectile dysfunction:

  • Anxiety – whether general or performance-related
  • Stressstress is rarely helpful, but it’s a part of life we all experience from time to time
  • Mental health problems – depression is well known for causing a lack of sex drive
  • Relationship struggles – ongoing issues can easily manifest in the bedroom
  • Excessive worry – this can make it hard to focus the mind and stay in the moment

How to diagnose ED

There are no tests available to prove for sure that you have erectile dysfunction – though you probably already know if you do. When you visit the doctor, they may carry out blood tests to determine whether you have an underlying illness that could be contributing to the condition, along the lines of prolactinoma or hypogonadism.

Since it’s strongly linked with certain aspects of poor health – obesity, an unhealthy diet, low levels of activity – there may be reason to look into the possibility of conditions like coronary artery disease or peripheral vascular disease. Your doctor will likely want to conduct an examination to determine whether the problem is more likely physical or psychological – and to check whether anything more serious is behind it. There are various methods they may want to try to evaluate what’s going on, including ultrasounds, reflex tests and electromagnetic vibration.

Available treatments

Luckily for the modern man, there are a lot of ways to treat erectile dysfunction. Of course, the right course to take depends on what’s behind the problem in the first place. It may be as simple as cleaning up your lifestyle habits, or you may require something stronger. Check out erectile dysfunction and mens sexual health at www.Penetric.com.

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Medication

In the first instance, medical treatment of erectile dysfunction may begin with oral PDE5 inhibitor drugs. These include Sildenafil, Viagra, Cialis and Spedra, which can be obtained (via prescription) through a your doctor or a registered online pharmacy such as The Independent Pharmacy. These drugs increase the amount of cGMP available in the blood supply to the penis, thereby increasing blood flow.

Alternatively, topical creams or injected medication containing papaverine, phentolamine or prostaglandin can be viable follow-ups. ED medication relaxes the arteries, helping to increase the amount of blood that reaches the penis.

Penis pumps

Penis pumps are essentially vacuum erection devices that help to draw blood into the penis. They are designed to be used just before having sex and generally come with a doctor’s prescription. ED penis pumps are not to be confused with those that claim to increase penis size – they do not have compression rings or vibrate.

Surgery

Surgery for ED is usually considered to be a last resort, if the problem has been ongoing for some time and nothing else is working. It involves having a permanent prosthetic implant inserted into the penis, with generally very effective results.

Shockwave therapy

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is the cool new kid of erectile dysfunction treatment, preferred by some as it doesn’t come with the associated side effects of some ED drugs. It is based on the same premise as that used in orthopedics and cardiology, and has seen varying degrees of success.

Natural remedies

If an unhealthy lifestyle is believed to be the root cause of your erectile dysfunction, then cleaning up your habits by eating well, taking regular exercise and quitting smoking will likely have an enormous impact and possibly solve the problem. Other natural remedies to try include acupuncture, pelvic exercises, watermelon juice, ginseng root and an amino acid called L-arginine. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about trying these – they may suggest that you try them in combination with medication or another form of treatment.

Coping with ED

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Living with erectile dysfunction can be incredibly challenging. Men with ED frequently experience anxiety, depression and low self-esteem as a result of the condition. Partly due to the stigma attached, many men feel unable to talk about it, but there are forums available where men can seek personal advice. It’s common for sufferers to withdraw emotionally from their partners to some extent, perceiving that they are somehow letting the other person down.

ED can really knock your confidence, particularly in the bedroom, and for this reason it’s important to try and be as open and sensitive with each other as possible. If you are able to admit there is an issue and seek the necessary treatment without feeling shame or resentment, you can continue to enjoy your sex life well into your old age. Successful treatment of ED has been shown to critically improve depression scale scores in men – so the sooner you find a solution, the better.

Got questions about erectile dysfunction? The web is full of useful ED resources and support groups – it’s important to remember that you are not alone.