If you are a man living with erectile dysfunction (ED), you may feel overcome with stress, frustration, or even sadness regarding your body’s sexual inabilities. Your frustration regarding your difficulties might even affect your partner, leaving them feeling helpless and unsure how to help. All of which can make ED seem even more challenging to manage. Luckily ED is a very common problem across men of all ages and can be easily treated to make your sex life much more enjoyable for both you and your partner.
Erectile dysfunction affects approximately 30 million men in the United States and can cause numerous physical, emotional, or medical factors. Over the years, more and more research has been conducted regarding the possible medical causes of ED. ED has been found to have three primary causes:
- not enough blood flow to the penis,
- inadequate storage of blood flow during sex,
- inefficient nerve signals from the brain to the penis.
These physical causes can be due to several things, such as unhealthy habits like smoking, high blood sugar levels, or heart disease. Additionally, they can also be an unfortunate side effect of certain medications for blood pressure, ulcers, antidepressants, and even antihistamines. Emotional factors can make physiological or medical problems worse, creating anxiety, depression, stress, relationship problems, or other mental health conditions.
To be clinically diagnosed with ED, your doctor or urologist will ask a series of questions regarding your physical health, history, and lifestyle choices. They might also run labs tests or administer a physical exam to determine if any preexisting conditions could negatively affect your sexual abilities, like diabetes, cancer treatments, or side effects from current medications. A physical exam could bring to light any risk factors due to your age, family health history, or heart or blood system conditions. Although these questions can make you feel uncomfortable to talk about with your doctor, they are imperative to an accurate diagnosis and effective plan of care.
Examples of questions your doctor might ask include:
- What prescription or over-the-counter drugs do you currently take?
- What supplements do you currently take, and how often?
- Do you smoke? If so, how often?
- Do you drink alcohol? If so, how often?
- Do you have any known urinary problems?
- How long have you had difficulty with these symptoms?
- When or if you have erections, how firm are they? How long do they typically last?
- Do you have problems with arousal or low sex drive?
- How does this problem affect your sex life?
- How is your relationship with your current partner?
Fortunately, 90% of all ED cases can be treated effectively. Companies like Iron Mountain Men’s Health specialize in men’s sexual health, working with men of all ages to create and establish custom erectile dysfunction treatment. This individualized approach to sexual health allows each client to target issues that may be difficult to discuss with their primary care provider, partner, or close friends. Iron Mountain offers treatment for ED through a variety of approaches, listed and described below.
1. Oral/Sublingual Medications.
Erectile dysfunction treatment using medication targets increased production of nitric oxide within your body. Nitric oxide is a chemical in a man’s body that relaxes muscles in the penis, allowing increased blood flow to the area. Popular medications include Cialis and Adcirca, Viagra, Stendra, Staxyn, and Levitra. To use any of these medications to their maximum potential, you should ingest a pill approximately an hour or two before having sex. 7 out of 10 men report success with this method. However, some side effects can be noted, like headache, stuffy nose, muscle aches, indigestion, and/or facial flushing. Medications for ED are not recommended for any patient already taking medications containing nitrates for their heart. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the possible complications or risks to your well-being before starting any medication.
2. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy.
Though it sounds intimidating, extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a safe and successful approach to erectile dysfunction treatment. This treatment helps restore and strengthen the blood vessels within the penis, using a wand-like device that emits pulses to the general area. It only takes approximately 15 minutes per session, and multiple treatment sessions may be required depending on your need.
3. Injection Therapy.
Another erectile dysfunction treatment option involves an injection of medication directly into the side or base of the penis. This option is typically used in conjunction with other medication(s) to encourage erections. Typically, your primary care physician or urologist will administer the first few shots and will educate you on the process, how much to use, and how to safely raise the dosage if needed. Using injection therapy, the success rate of achieving a firm erection can be as high as 85% for most men.
Each injection produces an erection that should last an hour at most, and again, should only be used if your doctor agrees with the benefits in your specific case of ED.
In addition to these erectile dysfunction treatments offered by Iron Mountain, counseling through a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist might also prove helpful for both men suffering from ED as well as their partner.
Given the ability to talk about underlying issues that may be causing ED or preventing successful sexual experiences in a nonbiased, nonjudgmental space could allow you to work through personal or emotional issues. If you feel there aren’t any underlying issues causing your ED, talking with a professional about managing stress or anxiety can also be beneficial.
Incorporating your partner into therapy sessions creates a safe space for open communication- empowering both people to talk through individual thoughts, frustrations, or ideas. A recent study found that 94% of males with ED reported that their partner’s support was imperative to cope with their diagnosis. Creating this line of open, safe communication could also improve not only the core foundation of your relationship but also your sexual experiences together. Recent studies report that approximately 50 – 70% of men suffering from ED related to stress or anxiety showed improvements in symptoms when their partner attended therapy with them.
If you are unsure whether the treatment approaches mentioned above are suitable for you, please consult your doctor or the trained team of specialists at Iron Mountain Men’s Health to discuss other options. There are many resources, support groups, and forums online that are easily accessible to those suffering from ED for you to air your questions, concerns, or support to others going through similar struggles.
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