Erectile dysfunction, commonly known as ED or impotence, is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sex. It’s a very common condition affecting over 40% of men at some point in their lives. This article covers the different types of ED, risk factors and causes, management options, and the support available.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sex. It’s a very common condition affecting over 40% of men at some point in their lives. ED affects people of all ages and is not an indicator of overall health. The risk of developing ED increases with age, however, and the condition is much more common in men over 40 years. In fact, the majority of men between 40 and 70 will experience ED at some point.
Types of ED
There are different types of ED, Stress and Psychological ED, Stress and psychological issues can contribute to ED. This can be due to anxiety about ‘performing’ and worries about public shame or humiliation. In some cases, performance anxiety can lead to an avoidance of sexual intimacy altogether. - Physical causes - Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or neurological disorders can lead to ED. As well as impacting overall health, these conditions can also affect both the quality of an erection and the ability to achieve one. - Medicinal causes - Some medications, such as SSRI antidepressants, H2 antagonists, certain pain medications, and antihypertensive drugs, and beta blockers, can impact sexual function. Weighing up the pros and cons of these drugs and consulting a doctor for an alternative option may be worth it.
Risk factors for ED
As previously mentioned, ED becomes increasingly common with age. The risk of developing ED increases as men grow older and increase with the number of health conditions or diseases present. As men reach their 40s, they experience a decrease in hormone levels, which can impact erection quality. As men age, they are also more likely to have risk factors for ED, such as being overweight or having high blood pressure. Physical diseases not surprisingly, the risk of developing ED increases with the number of health conditions or diseases present. Physical conditions that may increase the risk of ED include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurological disorders, and prostate cancer.
Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or neurological disorders can lead to ED. As well as impacting overall health, these conditions can also affect both the quality of an erection and the ability to achieve one. Diabetes can reduce blood flow to the penis, affecting the ability to achieve and maintain an erection. This can be due to nerve damage in the penis and damage to blood vessels. High blood pressure can affect the ability to maintain an erection by reducing the blood flow to the penis. This can be due to the narrowing of the blood vessels and damage to the small arteries. Heart disease can lead to changes in the blood flow to the penis. This can be due a result of reduced blood flow to the heart or to the penis. Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury can alter the pathways in the brain involved in erection. Prostate cancer can be treated with surgery or radiotherapy, which can impact on both erection quality and the ability to achieve one.
Medications and Surgery
The first port of call for treating ED is to address any underlying health condition. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, treatment options include lifestyle changes, ED medications, or ED surgery. Lifestyle changes can improve erection quality, as well as overall health. These might include losing weight, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol intake. There are a number of drugs used to treat ED. Drugs that increase blood flow such as palavering, prostaglandin E1, and phentolamine Combining ED drugs with nitro-glycerine or another type of heart medicine may help improve erection quality. ED surgery a variety of surgical procedures is available if medications are unsuccessful or complications arise.
How to support a loved one with ED
If you or a loved one is experiencing ED, it’s important to talk about the condition and the feelings that go along with it. Sharing the difficulty with a loved one can help you keep your self-esteem up and normalise the situation so that you’re not feeling like you’re alone in the experience. If you’re the loved one of a person with ED, it’s important to be sensitive and non-judgemental. Offer your loved one support in dealing with the condition and the feelings that go with it. ED is common, and there are many treatments available to help manage the condition, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed about it.
If you experience ED, don’t panic. First, you should see your doctor rule out any underlying health conditions. If there are no health issues or if ED is due to something like a side effect of a medication, there are treatments available.