Over the past several years, erectile dysfunction (ED), has become a household word. There are advertisements on television touting the benefits of medication, there are news stories and every day more men are discussing ED with their doctors. Even so, it is a sensitive topic. Men are embarrassed to bring the topic up and secretly feel they are letting their partners down. Women, although logically they understand this is a medical condition, secretly worry it is somehow their fault.
The following are 9 things you should know about erectile dysfunction:
Erectile dysfunction is described as the inability to get or maintain an erection in order to perform sexual intercourse. It is more commonly called impotence and up to 25 percent of men experience erectile dysfunction at sometime in their life.
ED is not someone’s “fault.” Often both partners wonder if they are doing something to cause ED or if it indicates that sexual desire has diminished. It is rare that ED is caused by lack of sexual desire and, in fact, it does not impact desire at all.
It is often the result of a disease or health condition. In almost one-third of men who visit their doctor for ED, cardiovascular disease is present. Obesity and diabetes are also common health conditions in men with ED. If you, or your partner, have ED, talk with your doctor. Discovering underlying health conditions early can save your life.
Psychological factors such as stress or depression can also lead to erection problems, however, it is more commonly associated with physical health conditions.
The chances of developing ED increase with age. This doesn’t mean that only men over the age of 40 or 50 develop ED. While it is not as prevalent, young men can also have ED. For some men, erection difficulties come and go throughout their life.
Alcohol and smoking can contribute to ED. Alcohol decreases the “quality of erections” and nicotine restricts blood flow. If dealing with ED, limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking might help.
Medication is one option, but there are other treatments. Because of the advertisements on television, we are all aware that there is a pill you can take to improve sexual function. However, this is not the only treatment. Penile implants, hormone replacement therapy or medications applied directly to the penis may also help. Be sure to talk with your doctor about all the treatment options to determine which is best for you.
Lifestyle changes sometimes help. Eating right, exercising, stress relief, limiting alcohol and quitting smoking may all help to reduce ED symptoms.
Some medications can cause erectile dysfunction. If you, or your partner, are currently taking any medications, check to see if this is a possible side effect. Your doctor might recommend reducing your dosage, if medically appropriate, or trying a different medication.
While many men hesitate to talk to their doctors about ED because of embarrassment, remember your doctor is there to help. If you have an underlying health issue, it is best to find out early and receive the proper treatment. Start with your family doctor. If you need additional medical care, he can refer you to a specialist.
“6 Things Men Should Know About Erectile Dysfunction,” Date Unknown, Clifford Georges M.D. and W. William Shay, D.O., Lehigh Valley Health Network
“What is Erectile Dysfunction? What is Impotence?” 2011, Aug, 17, Christian Nordqvist, Medical News Today
Published On: January 08, 2014