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Erectile Dysfunction: what is it, and do I have it?

You have probably heard of and seen commercials about erectile dysfunction. What actually is it, and what should you do if you think you might have it?

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is when a man can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sex. Otherwise known as impotence, erectile dysfunction is a very common condition that many men deal with, especially as they get older.

Erectile dysfunction’s causes can be both medical and psychological.

It can be caused by a problem with any part of the male sexual arousal process, which is a complex process involving multiple body systems. Erectile dysfunction’s causes could involve the hormones, brain, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, or emotions. Some chronic illnesses (like diabetes, kidney disease, nerve and brain disorders, and blood vessel diseases), or problems with blood flow to the penis can cause erectile dysfunction. Some medications, recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking also can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Many men have occasional difficulty getting or keeping an erection. Having rare or occasional erection trouble is not the same as erectile dysfunction: erectile dysfunction is only a concern if satisfactory sexual performance has been impossible regularly or consistently over a period of time.

If you have trouble getting an erection, trouble keeping an erection, or reduced sexual desire, these could indicate erectile dysfunction. Many men with erectile dysfunction experience distress, embarrassment, and reduced self-confidence. These can contribute to relationship problems or reduced interest in sex.

What should I do if I suspect I might have erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is very common, but many men are reluctant to talk with their doctor about it. Urologists and other doctors are well trained to recognize erectile dysfunction by asking a lot of questions about the past few months, doing a physical exam, and sometimes doing other medical tests. If erectile dysfunction is diagnosed, it can be treated easily.

There are several medications that can help with erectile dysfunction. A group of drugs called PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase-5) inhibitors can be taken 30 minutes to an hour before sex to help with arousal. The most commonly known drug of this type is called Viagra, and it is a small blue-colored pull. There are other drugs of this type that may help as well, such as Levitra, Cialis, and Stendra. PDE-5 inhibitors are prescription medications, meaning that you have to see a doctor first so they can make sure the drug is right for you before they can prescribe it to you.

Beyond PDE-5 inhibitors, there are other medications that may help with erectile dysfunction. Aside from medications, men also can use vacuum devices, which can mechanically produce an erection with a pump for men that do not want to or cannot take drug treatments. There are exercises that a man can do to reduce the effects of ED, such as by strengthening the pelvic floor with Kegel exercises. Some surgical treatment options also are available as a last resort. A doctor can help you better understand these treatment types and decide what might be the best fit for you.

If you have trouble with sexual performance or think you might have erectile dysfunction, seeing a doctor can help you with your sex life.

Feel free to contact me to schedule a consultation.



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