Erectile dysfunction (ED) refers to the difficulty in getting or keeping an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse or achieve sexual penetration. It can sometimes be referred to as impotence. ED is a common condition that occurs particularly in older men.
According to Urology care foundation, ED affects as many as 30 million men. It is estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 will have it to some degree.
Frequent ED can be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for some diseases. It can also be a sign of emotional or relationship difficulties that may need to be addressed by a professional.
Symptoms of ED are:
- Inability to have a penile erection.
- Inability to sustain a penile erection to complete satisfactory sexual activity.
- Inability to maintain sexual erection for the length of sexual activity.
Effects of ED may include:
- Low self-esteem
- Performance anxiety
Causes of ED
There are many causes of erectile dysfunction (impotence) , some of these causes include:
- blood vessel diseases (such as peripheral vascular disease and others),
- Relationship issues
- Performance anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes mellitus
- Alcoholism and other substance abuse
- Cigarette smoking
- Low testosterone
Other causes maybe as a result of:
- systemic disease,
- hormonal imbalance, and
- medications (such as blood pressure and heart medications)
- Surgical complications
- Radiation therapy to the pelvic region
Prevention of ED
Preventing erectile dysfunction entails your ability to make healthy lifestyle choices and to manage existing health conditions if you have any. For example:
- Regular exercise.
- Stress reduction and getting enough sleep.
- Following a healthy diet.
Regular checkups and medical screening tests with your Doctor.
- Work with your doctor to manage diabetes, heart disease or other chronic health conditions.
- Avoiding smoking, drugs, or alcohol abuse.
- Get help for anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns.
Treatment of ED
ED is treatable in all age groups. Treatments for ED include:
- Adopting a healthy lifestyle
- Dietray supplements, for example Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), L-arginine.
- Oral PDE5 inhibitors such as; Levitra, Viagra, Cialis, Stendra and Staxyn.
- Vacuum devices
- Intracavernosal injections
- Intraurethral medications
However, it is recommended that you have a discussion with your Doctor before using any of these drugs as they have range of potential adverse side-effects.
Research is ongoing to find more improved and effective therapies for ED.