Erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as ED, is one of the most common sex problems experienced by men. The condition is defined as the inability to get or maintain an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. It is normal for men to experience occasional ED, especially when they’re undergoing stress. However, frequent issues could be a sign of sexual health problems that require treatment. Erectile dysfunction could also be a sign of relationship or emotional difficulties that may require a professional’s intervention.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
There are a plethora of probable causes of ED, and they consist of physical and psychological conditions. Even though the risk of erectile dysfunction increases as men age, it is not a guarantee that the condition is going to be caused by growing old. Here are some of the causes.
- Insufficient blood flow to the penis. Several health issues can reduce the amount of blood that flows into the penis. They include heart disease, hardened arteries, diabetes, and smoking.
- Failure of the penis to trap blood during an erection. This issue can happen to men of any age. If the blood cannot remain in the penis, then it will be difficult for the man to keep an erection.
- Difficulty of nerve signals from the brain getting to the penis. Illnesses, surgery, or injury in a man’s pelvic area can damage the nerves to the penis from the brain or spinal cord, thus leading to ED.
- Cancer treatments close to the pelvis. Radiation or surgeries for cancers in a man’s pelvis or lower abdomen can result in erectile dysfunction. Cancers such as colon-rectal, prostate, or bladder cancer leave men with ED in many cases.
Normal sex requires full collaboration between the mind and body. Relationship or psychological issues can result in erectile dysfunction or worsen the problem. Some psychological problems that can cause ED include:
- Worrying about sex performance
- Stress associated with religious, social, or cultural conflicts
- Stress related to work or at home
- Relationship conflicts
- Depression and anxiety
Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
When ED becomes a bothersome and frequent problem, the sufferer needs to see a urologist or primary care provider. Erectile dysfunction could be an early sign of cardiovascular illness to show that blockages are forming in the person’s vascular system. Several studies show that men with ED have a considerable risk of contracting circulatory problems in the legs, strokes, or even heart attacks. Some of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:
- Difficulty getting an erection
- Reduced interest in sexual intercourse
- Premature or delayed ejaculation
- Problems with maintaining an erection
- Distress to the man and his partner
Consult your health care provider if you have one or more of these symptoms, especially if these symptoms have been around for three or more months. The doctor will be in a position to decide if the symptoms you’re experiencing are a result of an underlying problem that needs treatment.
Treatment of ED
ED treatment begins with taking proper care of the heart and vascular health. The doctor may point out the risk factors that need to be improved or changed completely. For example, they may recommend changing various food habits, quitting smoking, increasing exercise, or stopping the consumption of certain drugs or alcohol.
The health care provider can also recommend that you seek treatment for psychological problems. These issues could be life’s stressors, relationship conflicts, anxiety, or depression from past problems with ED.
Prevention of ED
There are plenty of ways to prevent erectile dysfunction, and most of them involve leading a healthy lifestyle. These steps are not only good for preventing the condition but also for your health in general. They include:
- Keeping medical conditions under control
- Regular exercise and workouts
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet
- Reducing or managing stress
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol (Use in moderation if you have to)