Erectile Dysfunction is a common condition which prevents men from having or maintaining erections. More than 42 percent of men over the age of 50 suffer from this condition with varying degrees. Erectile dysfunction is not a disease but a symptom of some other problem, either physical, psychological or a mixture of both.
Erectile dysfunction occurs when type V phosphodiesterase (an enzyme) breaks down nitric oxide too quickly. In simple term, nitric oxide is basically the mojo for a man’s erection. Without nitric oxide, there would be no firmness in a man’s erection.
Common Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
Although erectile dysfunction is a very common condition, a great majority of men fail to seek treatment for it. Also, many men refuse to admit they are among the percentage of those who suffer from this all-too-common affliction. The very common symptoms of erectile dysfunction are;
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection for a long enough period of time
- Reduced sex drive
- Not getting an erection early in the morning
- Low self-esteem
- Symptoms of Other Sexual Disorders
- Premature and/or delayed ejaculation
- Some sexual disorders are related to ED and may cause symptoms that overlap.
- The inability to have an orgasm after sufficient stimulation.
Risk Factors of Erectile Dysfunction
Under normal conditions, when a man becomes sexually aroused, blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and hormones work together to create an erection. Various risk factors can alter this process, thus contributing to erectile dysfunction. They include:
- Diabetes or heart conditions
- Nervous disorder, severe kidney disease, brain or spinal cord injury
- Medical treatments including prostate surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
- Medications including antidepressants, diuretics, antihistamines, and medications to treat high blood pressure, cholesterol, male pattern baldness
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Alcohol use
- Sleep disorders
- Tobacco use, which restricts blood flow to veins and arteries, can — over time — cause chronic health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction.
When Should You Seek Help?
The severity of erectile dysfunction varies from individual to individual. In some men, these symptoms occur only occasionally – this applies more to men whose ED are caused by physical conditions. For others, the symptoms are constant and interfere with their sexual relationships.
If you have been noticing signs of weak or short-spanned erection for a few weeks, it is wise to see your doctor, because it may be a warning sign of other more serious health problems. Also, if you do not have erections when you wake up in the morning, it is time to call your doctor. Alternatively, there are some well-known erectile dysfunction drugs like viagra and sildenafil.
Advice on How to Handle Erectile Dysfunction When in a Relationship
- Have a Conversation: This should be the very first step to take if you begin showing symptoms of ED. Your partner should be aware of the situation –most relationships have ended because of a lack of communication about such conditions. Start with your own feelings about the situation, and what can be done.
- Consult Your Doctor: After talking to your partner, the next logical thing to do is to consult your doctor or visit a specialist (a urologist). According to Dr. Shoskes, if the woman can come in, that’s a huge help. “The patients who are the most successful are those where the sexual partner is a true partner.”
- Try to Take the Pressure Off: Stress and anxiety are factors that cause or make erectile dysfunction work. It would take efforts from both parties to take the emphasis off the man’s condition when having sex. Doctors would advise that couples engage in foreplay before sex. If played rightly, this can be a time where you get to know and trust your partner more.
- Be Patient with the Process: The treatment option prescribed by your doctor definitely works, but would take time to work. While you may want to see results immediately you begin taking the drugs.
- One of the most active ways to combat ED is to work on change in lifestyle which confirms that erectile dysfunction can be reversed without medication. For people who lead a healthy lifestyle, the chances of developing erectile dysfunction or symptoms becoming worse are reduced. Women should encourage their partners to eat healthy, exercise, and go for cardio-vascular checkups
The Connection Between ED and Other Health Problems
Persistent symptoms of erectile dysfunction could be a red flag for a more serious, larger condition. According to Timothy Boone, the chairman of The Methodist Hospital’s department of urology, most men do not realize that ED is a warning sign of potential cardiovascular disease. The penile artery can also get narrower because of coronary artery disease or diabetes.
As such, treating erectile dysfunction alone will not cure the main health condition. If left untreated, it could lead to reoccurring ED even after treatments. So, it is important that your doctors carry out tests to discover the health condition that is most likely the cause of your erectile dysfunction.
There are tons of adverts on drugs that claim to cure erectile dysfunction. Dr. Boone has advised men to refrain from purchasing male enhancement products from TV infomercials and the like because most are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are very expensive.
The best treatment you would get for erectile dysfunction would come after consulting with a urologist who can do a proper work up that includes a medical history and blood work to check for disorders like diabetes and low testosterone levels.