• Erectile dysfunction: understanding the enemy

    There’s no point in denying the fact that most men find themselves coping with erectile dysfunction at a certain point in their lives. Some feel the onset of this dreadful condition earlier, some are lucky enough to enjoy perfect virility until an older age but there are not too many who are blessed with perfect sexual health for the whole of their lives. That’s why it’s important to understand that the first symptoms of erectile dysfunction don’t necessarily mean that your life is over and you won’t be able to enjoy sex again. Luckily, this condition is no longer untreatable – getting your manhood back is as easy as ABC these days.


    Here in this article we won’t be talking about ED treatments per se – it is the condition itself that we will focus on. Of course, it’s always best to consult a professional healthcare provider when you feel something is not right in your sex life instead of self-diagnosing any conditions. However, there are still lots of questions that a man asks himself and the all-knowing Google when he just ‘can’t do it’ even before paying a visit to the doctor’s – and most of these will be answered in the current article. Hope you will find all the information you need here.


    What is erectile dysfunction?

    Previously referred to as ‘impotence’, erectile dysfunction (or ED, in short) is a health disorder characterized by regular inability to achieve or maintain an erection strong or lasting enough for a successful sexual intercourse. Note that the word ‘regular’ is the key one here: while most men have problems getting hard or staying hard during sexual intercourse, far not all of them have erectile dysfunction. You will only be diagnosed with ED if you can’t get an erection at all or if you’re experiencing this problem really often, like, at least in 30% of cases when you intend to have sex with your partner.


    Even though most men fear erectile dysfunction because it frequently brings about psychological problems such as lower self-esteem and relationship issues, it’s important to remember that ED is extremely simple to heal these days. In some cases all you will have to do is make some very basic lifestyle changes such as walking or exercising more or eating healthier and that will be it – your sexual health will come back to you. And even if these don’t help, there will still be a way out: an even easier one, as some say. We’re talking about treatments with PDE5 inhibitors, modern meds like Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and the like, which simply solve your potency problems as if they were not there at all in the first place.


    What causes erectile dysfunction?

    Contrary to popular belief, the list of erectile dysfunction causes is very long and is by no means limited to simply ‘getting old’. Let’s take a closer look at the most widespread stimuli that can result in this condition in this part of our article. We don’t intend to cover all the things that can cause ED here – but we will definitely mention those that are the root of most men’s sexual problems.


    First of all, it’s important to know that erectile dysfunction can be caused both by medical and psychological conditions. In fact, many doctors believe that the latter are even more of a problem as opposed to real health disorders that make you perform worse on physiological level. ED can be caused by performance anxiety, stress or certain mental disorders. Besides, it’s obvious that many men simply refuse to admit that they are no longer attracted to their partners, which makes them look for the solution to their problem elsewhere.


    Additionally, in many cases certain drugs can be the causes of erectile dysfunction. And we’re not talking only about prescription medicines that are used to treat various health conditions but cause erectile dysfunction as their side effects. Substance abuse can cause ED as well and does so quite often. In fact, even substances that don’t look as dangerous as hard drugs can affect your performance in bedroom dramatically. Take smoking, for instance: nicotine is known to narrow arteries, which impairs blood flow and, consequently, causes erection problems.


    In fact, most medical conditions that can cause ED affect the vital physical process mentioned above: blood circulation. Here’s how an erection works: responding to signals sent by the nerve endings, your body starts pumping more blood towards the body of your penis, making it increase in size and get harder. If there’s something wrong with the blood vessels in your pelvis, there simply won’t be enough blood entering your penis and it will remain flaccid. The same with neurogenic disorders – when the function of nerves is impaired, your body can’t decipher the signals generated as the result sexual arousal and the whole mechanism of erection is not triggered.


    Of course, even though aging is not the main cause of erectile dysfunction, it’s impossible to deny the fact that it still plays a major role in causing this disorder. As you get older, the way your body functions changes – often causing some health disorders that affect your sexual performance.


    Though it may sound surprising to many, there are also a few other health conditions that can be the reason why you’re having problems in bed. Though there doesn’t seem to be any direct relationship between these and your sexual performance, they can clearly affect it, which has been proven by numerous scientists. The list of these conditions includes diabetes, certain kidney disorders, multiple sclerosis, hormonal disorders and even shortage of certain chemicals in your systems. Here’s a surprising example for you: if you sweat too much or don’t have healthy eating habits, you may be suffering from potassium deficiency, which can cause ED.


    And last, though not least. Naturally, erectile dysfunction can be caused by physical damage to the body of your penis. In some cases penile injury may result in temporary or permanent inability to achieve erection, plus there are some conditions that harm the cavernous structures inside the shaft of your penis – such as fibrosis, Peyronie’s disease and the like.


    Erectile dysfunction symptoms

    As you might have already understood, ED is a condition that is almost impossible to leave unnoticed. The symptoms of erectile dysfunction usually include persistent inability to achieve or maintain erection, lack of interest in sex and even various ejaculation problems such as delayed ejaculation or complete inability to reach orgasm. Once again, it is important to distinguish between occasional erection problems that more or less every man has to deal with every now and then and persisting ones that really affect the quality of your sex life in a negative way. While the former shouldn’t be a real reason for you to worry about your sexual health, the latter give you enough ground to have a talk with your doctor or at least start researching erectile dysfunction.


    Diagnosing erectile dysfunction

    The process of diagnosing erectile dysfunction is not really complex though it may include any or the entire multitude of tests helping to define the real reason behind your condition. Of course, the whole thing is most likely to begin with a Q&A session with your healthcare provider. Be ready to answer a lot of questions about your sex life (including questions about relationship problems, sexual techniques you use, number of partners, etc.), about your general lifestyle and about all the medications you’re taking and other possible health disorders you’re suffering from. Based on your answers, the doctor will then decide, which tests you will need exactly.


    Further medical examinations you will undergo may range from basic urine and blood tests to very complex ones such as duplex ultrasound, vasoactive injection, penile biothesiometry, etc. You might also have to undergo NPT (nocturnal penile tumescence), which is a test aimed at evaluating the regularity and quality of your nocturnal erections. In most of the cases that would include wearing a few bands around the shaft of your penis. Judging by the way they stretch and/or snap in your sleep, the doctor will be able to understand whether you have ED or not.


    Many procedures aimed at testing your ability to achieve erection will also include checking the function of your blood vessels. Therefore, you should be ready for tests that might include penile injections. In some of the cases there will be a certain amount of liquid pumped into your penis with the purpose of understanding, how much blood your body needs to send towards the organ in order to get it hard. In other cases there will be dye injected into your penis, which will then get X-rayed in order to detect possible venous leakage. However, there’s no need to worry about these tests – far not all of the patients with ED symptoms are told to undergo them and, while unpleasant to a certain extent, they are not really painful or anything.


    Erectile dysfunction age: is it the same for everyone?

    While it’s obvious that there is a correlation between a man’s age and his sexual function, it wouldn’t be right to say that there is a certain age when you’re most likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Some men find themselves coping with this condition as early as in their twenties while others enjoy perfect sexual health until their sixties. However, as we age, the testosterone levels in our bodies drop lower and lower, which is a natural process that is the same for everybody and usually accounts for the majority of erection problems in older men.


    Anyway, the answer to the question in the heading of this part of our article is clear: no, there is no certain ‘ED age’ when you’re most likely to face your first sexual performance problems.


    So, this is more or less everything we wanted to cover in this brief article about erectile dysfunction. Hope that we managed to answer your questions. If you’re also interested in erectile dysfunction treatment options, don’t hesitate to read other articles on our site – they offer exactly the information you’re looking for. Thank you for reading!