What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability a man faces to get or keep an erection. Without the right treatment, ED can make sexual intercourse difficult.
ED is also referred to as impotence by few but this term is used less often now.
The problem is reported in 20% Men, and that number gets bigger with age.So it’s safe to say that 1 in every 5 men face this problem.
It is important to note that Occasional ED is common and can happen due to various reasons like stress but frequent ED can be a sign of health problems that require treatment.
ED many times is a sign of emotional or relationship problems that may require to be consulted by a professional.
It’s estimated that ED affects 10 percent more men each decade of life . However, ED can also occur at a younger age.
One study found that 1 in 4 men seeking their first treatment for ED were under 40 years old. A stronger correlation between smoking, drug use, and ED was observed in these men when compared with older men.
This suggests that lifestyle choices are an important factor for ED in younger men.
What causes an erection?
ED may be caused due to problems at any stage of the erection process.Increased blood flow in the penis causes an erection. Blood flow is usually stimulated due to either sexual thoughts or contact with the penis.
Sexual excitement in a man stimulates the muscles in the penis to relax which allows blood flow to increase through the penile arteries, filling two chambers inside the penis. When chambers fill with blood, the penis starts to grow rigid.
An erection ends when the muscles contract and the accumulated blood can flow out through the penile veins.
Erectile dysfunction causes
Several reasons can cause ED which includes both emotional and physical stress. Common causes include:
- Cardiovascular Diseases
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Low Testosterone Levels
- Kidney Disease
- Increased Age
- Relationship Issues
- Certain Medications
- Sleep Disorders
- Drug Use
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Injury in the pelvic region
- Peyronie’s Disease
Though there are several causes of ED but condition that affects the way blood flows through the body are the leading causes of ED like in the cases of Diabetes (One of the leading cause of ED) A man with diabetes is 2-3 times more likely to have ED than the average man although blood sugar control can lower this risk
Erectile dysfunction symptoms
Getting and maintaining an erection are the direct observable symptoms but premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation or the inability to achieve orgasm after ample stimulation may be signs of ED.
A person should consult a doctor If any of the symptoms are observed and have been continuing for a period of more than 3 month.
Erectile dysfunction treatment
The treatment depends upon the cause behind ED,One may need a combination of the treatments,medications and therapies.
ED Treatment: Vacuum Pump Devices
The treatment stimulated erection through creation of vacuum which helps in drawing blood into the penis as the devices are used, Causing an erection. The person will also requires to wear an elastic band around the base of the penis to keep the erection while he has sex.
A vacuum pump device consists a plastic tube to place the penis,A pump, which creates vacuum by drawing air out of the plastic tube and an elastic ring used at the base of the penis as the plastic tube is removed.
The elastic ring functions to maintain the erection, holding the blood in the penis and preventing it from returning to circulation. It can be left in place for 30 minutes
ED Treatment: Oral Medication
Doctors may prescribe different medications to manage the symptoms of ED. One may need to try several medications before he finds one that works. One of the most commonly known medications is Sildenafil (Viagra) but it isn’t the only available option for the treatment of ED. Given below is the list of medications used for the treatment of ED
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
- Avanafil (Stendra)
- Tadalafil (Cialis)
- Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
All of the mentioned medications work by improving blood flow to the penis. They have to be taken generally 30-60 minutes before sexual activities and should not be used more than once in a day as it may lead to complications.
TRT (Testosterone Therapy) may also be prescribed if one has low levels of testosterone.
Medications for ED may cause some side effects so one should always consult a doctor when he experiences discomfort due to medication so that an alternative medicine can be prescribed
ED Treatment: Psychotherapy
Several psychological reasons can lead to ED like Stress,Anxiety,Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Depression.
Such Problems can be tackled by PsychotherapyA therapist can help the couple to reduce performance anxiety and improve intimacy. If ED is affecting the relationship than going to an Relationship Counsellor who helps couples reconnect emotionally, which may help in treating ED
ED Treatment: Implants
For treating a long term ED a penile implant can help.
Inflatable implant: Which uses two cylinders full of pressurized fluid
Malleable implant: Which uses a rod that helps adjust the position of the penis.
ED Treatment: Alternative Therapy
Supplements can help in the treatment of ED but one should always consult a doctor prior to going for supplements. Though few people claim that the supplements help them get and keep an erection the long term safety of such products are unknown.
Web searches reveal several “dietary supplements” that claim to treat ED but these pills often contain prescription drugs that are not listed on the description (like Viagra).
ED Treatment: Surgery
If ED is caused due to a blocked artery leading to the penis, A surgery can restore blood flow.. Doctors do not recommend it for older men and it usually works best for Men of age 30 and below.
Erectile dysfunction natural treatment
Natural Treatment: Massage
Prostatic massage in combination with other treatments may be used for the treatment ED.
During prostate massage, a practitioner massages the tissues in and
around the groin to promote blood flow to the penis.
So far, there have only been few studies on prostatic massage and its effectiveness for treating ED.
Acupuncture is said to work through nerve stimulation, which then has an effect on the release of neurotransmitters.It is also said to improve blood flow in a person.
Studies on its efficacy are limited, and the ones that do exist are often inconclusive. Some evidence indicates that acupuncture may help to treat psychological ED.
Erectile dysfunction tests
Testing for ED involves several steps including physical examination and analyzing Psycho-Social History. Additional tests are performed to determine if symptoms are caused by an underlying condition.
A regular checkup including listening to the patient’s heart and lungs, checking blood pressure, and examining testicles and penis is done. Patients may also recommend a rectal exam to check their prostate.
A series of questionnaires about the symptoms, health history, and sexual history are asked and the responses help in evaluating the severity of the ED.
Doctors may perform additional testing to help in diagnosing ED. Tests may include:
Ultrasound. It is used to examine the blood vessels and blood flow of the penis.
Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) test. is used to evaluate the quality of erections at night.
Injection test. a medication is injected in the penis to stimulate an erection. This allows doctors to evaluate the firmness of the erection and how long it lasts.
Urine tests. Which is used to check for diabetes or other underlying health conditions.
Blood tests. Blood tests can be used to check for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, thyroid issues, and low levels of testosterone.
Recommended Food for ED
The major cause of ED is disruption in the blood circulation. Maintaining blood vessel health is beneficial in prevention and treatment of ED.
- Consuming ample amount of whole grains (corn,rice,barley,etc.),Vegetables and Fruits (Cocoa and Watermelon)
- Limiting consumption of Red Meat,Full Fat Dairy and Processed Sugar
- Avoiding alcohol consumption
Herbs and supplements
Several herbs and supplement have demonstrated benefits for the treatment of ED,Like:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
- Asparagus racemosus
But before going for any types of supplements one must always consult a doctor.
Erectile dysfunction exercises
Certain Exercises can help in treating ED
Kegel exercises use simple movements to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Here’s how:
- Identify the pelvic floor muscles,One can easily do this by stop peeing midstream. The muscles used for doing this are the pelvic floor muscles
- Once the muscles have been identified the exercise involves contracting the muscles for 3 seconds and releasing them.
- This needs to be done for 10-15 Minutes
Kegel exercises have demonstrated effective results for ED just after 3 months of regular pelvic floor exercises.
Aerobic exercises help in improving the blood flow of the body and also keeps you fit. Aerobic Exercises like Swimming can help in improving the blood flow in the penis. But excersises need to be consulted with a doctor if someone has heart disease or other underlying conditions.
Yoga is a good practice that helps an individual both mentally and physically. It helps in improving the blood circulation of the body and relieving mental stress thus helping in the treatment of ED.
Erectile dysfunction and diabetes
ED and diabetes may occur together. As a matter of fact, 50% of men having diabetes can have ED.
Diabetes affects how your body processes glucose. When glucose isn’t stored correctly, excess glucose can be found in your blood, leading to high blood sugar. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Having high amounts of sugar in your blood can lead to damage of the blood vessels and nerves. This damage can also affect the blood vessels and nerves located around the penis, leading to difficulties obtainingv or maintaining an erection.
If you have diabetes, it’s important that you work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under control. This can help to prevent damage that can lead to ED. Explore the connection between ED and type 2 diabetes.
There are many factors that can increase the likelihood of developing ED.
One important factor is Ageing ,As one gets older, He may find that it more difficult to get or maintain an erection. He may also notice that he may require more direct stimulation to get an erection.
Other risk factors for ED include:
- having psychological conditions like anxiety or depression
- using tobacco products, drugs, or alcohol
There are several steps that one can take to prevent ED. Most of these involve maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, they’re not only good for preventing ED, but also for improving overall health.
- Make sure that you get regular exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Manage stress effectively.
- Seek help if you’re experiencing anxiety or depression.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid consuming alcahol.
One should also be sure to keep up with your regular checkups such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This can help with early identification and treatment of conditions that can potentially lead to ED.