What is erectile dysfunction?
Definition: Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.
It can cause indirect problems as well. Things like stress, loss of self-confidence, relationship difficulties and it can also be a sign of other health conditions which may require treatment.
ED currently affects as many as 30 million men.
Male sexual arousal is a complex process involving the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels.
ED can result from a problem with any one of them or a combination of these factors.
Erectile dysfunction can happen when health problems (both physical and psychological) limit blood flow or damage nerves in the penis.
It can also be caused by stress or emotional problems.
ED can be a symptom of other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Treating these other issues can also help treat ED.
How Erections Work
When an individual is not aroused the penis is soft and limp. When aroused, nerve messages release chemicals that increase blood flow into the penis.
The pressure of the increased blood flow makes the penis firm, causing an erection.
After ejaculation, the blood flows out of the penis and the erection goes away.
The symptoms of erectile dysfunction are:
• Trouble getting an erection
• Trouble keeping an erection
• Reduced sexual desire
Causes of ED
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a malfunction in any of the following systems:
• Blood flow
• Nerve supply
The causes can be either physical or psychological in nature.
Some common physical causes are:
• Heart disease
• Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Metabolic syndrome-a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol.
• Parkinson’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Certain prescription medications
• Tobacco use
• Peyronie’s disease-scar tissue inside the penis
• Alcoholism and other substance abuse
• Sleep disorders
• Treatment for prostate cancer or enlarged prostrate
• Surgeries that effect the pelvic area or spinal cord
• Hormonal disorders
• Structural disorder of the penis
• Radiation therapy in the pelvic region
Prescription medications can also be a cause. Drugs such as the following can contribute to ED:
• High blood pressure drugs
• Heart medication
• Some diuretics
• Drugs that act on the central nervous system
• Anxiety treatments
• Opioid painkillers
• Some cancer drugs
• Prostrate treatment drugs
• Hormone drugs
• Peptic ulcer medication
Physical causes account for approximately 90% of erectile dysfunction.
There are also psychological causes of ED:
• Fear of intimacy
• Severe anxiety
ED will cause complications such as:
• An unsatisfactory sex life
• Stress or anxiety
• Embarrassment or low self esteem
• Relationship problems
• Inability to get your partner pregnant
The best way to treat ED is to do everything you can to prevent it.
Here are some preventive actions to take:
• Learn to manage diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or any other medical causes
• Have regular medical check ups
• Don’t smoke, limit alcohol and avoid drug use
• Regular exercise
• Reduce stress in your life
• Treat mental concerns such as anxiety or depression
Treatment for erectile dysfunction
Modern medicine has developed treatments for ED. Results, however, do vary from man to man.
Treatments fall into several categories. They are:
• Drug treatments
• Vacuum construction devices (VCD)
• Alternative treatment
One of the most common drug treatments is a drug called PDE-5 inhibitors. They are taken 30-60 minutes prior to engaging in sex. The best known of these is Viagra.
These drugs require a prescription to acquire them. Unfortunately, they can have unwelcome side effects and they can also be expensive.
- Some of the common side effects are:
Erections lasting more than four hours
Online pharmacies also are a source of drugs to cure ED. However, the Food and Drug Administration has advised consumers to exercise great caution when buying from them.
Vacuum Construction Devices
A vacuum construction device, referred to as a VCD, is an external pump with a band on it that can be used to gain and maintain an erection.
According to WebMD, a VCD works like this:
• Place the pump over the penis. It can then be pumped either by hand or with batteries.
• Pump the air out of the cylinder to create a vacuum. The vacuum draws blood into the shaft of the penis causing it to swell and become erect.
• Once erection is achieved, slide the retaining band down onto the lower end of the penis.
• Remove the pump after releasing the vacuum.
A note of caution: Make sure that any VCD purchased without a prescription has a “quick release” feature.
Vacuum construction devices can be used by men who don’t want or can’t use drug treatments or if the treatments aren’t working for them.
The use of a VCD causes a lack of spontaneity and many men find other methods are preferable.
There are several options available:
• Penile implants which are usually a last resort for men who have not had any success with other methods.
• Vascular surgery which attempts to correct blood vessel causes of ED.
Surgical methods are invasive and expensive. They can also be dangerous as any surgery can be. They should be used only in the most extreme cases.
There are numerous dietary supplements that claim to help cure ED.
There, however, is no sound proof or evidence to support the belief that these supplements cure erectile dysfunction.
The following supplements, studied in people, claim to have yielded some positive results. They are:
This is a program that treats erectile dysfunction without the use of drugs, VCD’s, injections or surgery, which can all be expensive and have harmful side effects.
The program offers benefits and tips that can be utilized to create success in overcoming ED.
The program works by relaxing the blood vessels with a combination of natural ingredients, which have created positive results.
The relaxed blood vessels allow the free flow of blood into the penis and trap it there to create an erection.
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