Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatments, Medications

By Christine RamirezFeb 01, 202167

Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatments, Medications

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a male sexual disorder. It is a condition where a man fails to attain a firm erection to perform sexual activity. Men may not gain an erection sometimes. It is common and not of concern. However, if a man frequently fails to attain an erection, then he might have erectile dysfunction. ED can be a result of various physical and emotional problems such as relationship stress or lack of self-confidence. Issues to attain an erection can occur due to serious health problems such as cardiovascular problems.

What Causes an Erection?

Erectile dysfunction can occur if there is an issue in the erection process. Erection takes place when there is higher blood flow to the penile organ. Sexual thoughts and foreplay help stimulate blood flow. During the sexual excitement, penile muscles relax, and arteries pump enhanced blood flow. The two chambers in the penile organ get filled with blood. As the chambers get filled, the penile organ becomes firm, which means erection is achieved.

If you think you are dealing with erectile dysfunction, consult your health professional even if you are embarrassed to do so. Sometimes, curing the fundamental health disorder can control erectile dysfunction. However, medications and counseling can help to overcome impotence.

According to the studies, roughly 52% of men are dealing with a certain degree of erectile dysfunction. ED is common in the age group of 40 and 70 years. However, the risk of erectile dysfunction increases with age, but younger men too can become experience erectile dysfunction.

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction are specific. Therefore, it is easier to recognize. You might be dealing with erectile dysfunction if you regularly have:

  • trouble attaining an erection
  • difficulty in sustaining an erection during sexual activity
  • reduced interest in sexual activity
  • Besides, other sexual disorders can be a reason for erectile dysfunction, such as:
  • premature ejaculation
  • delayed ejaculation
  • anorgasmia (inability to gain sexual climax)

Consult your doctor if you are observing such symptoms, especially if you experience them over three months. Your doctor will help to determine the root cause of erectile dysfunction. It will also help to choose the proper treatment.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Attaining an erection is a complex process that involves the functioning of the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and arteries. Erectile dysfunction is a result of various physical as well as psychological problems. Once the cause is detected, it is easier to treat ED.

  • Common Physical Causes
    • Heart disease
    • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
    • High cholesterol
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
  • Common Psychological Causes
    • Depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions
    • Stress
    • Relationship problems
    • Diagnosis of erectile dysfunction

For several men, physical examination and answering some questions are enough to diagnose erectile dysfunction. However, if you are suffering from ED due to an underlying health issue or if your doctor suspects such a case, you need to take some lab tests.

Tests to detect the underlying health disorders are:

Physical exam: This includes a detailed examination of the penis and testicles. Additionally, examining the sensations in the nerves.

Blood tests: A blood sample will help to detect if you have heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone levels, and some other health problem.

Urine tests (urinalysis):  This test is the same as blood tests. A urinalysis helps to determine whether you have diabetes or other health problem.

Ultrasound: It is a test performed by a specialist. It is a wand-like device (transducer). The instrument is held over the blood vessels in the penile organ. It generates a video image that helps your doctor to check the blood flow.

Psychological exam: Your health professional will ask you some questions to determine if you are experiencing depression or any other mental health disorder.

Treatments of Erectile Dysfunction

Treatment for ED includes detecting the root cause of the problem. Treating the root cause might help to overcome impotence. However, if you are not dealing with a health disorder, in such a case, some treatments may help in severe erectile dysfunction causes.

  • Lifestyle changes

Exercising regularly; helps to keep your circulatory health in a good state. It may help you to treat erectile dysfunction. The inactive physical condition can cause various health issues such as weight gain, cardiovascular problems, metabolic syndrome, etc. Researchers suggest that an active and healthy lifestyle helps to overcome sexual disorders. Also, quitting other unhealthy habits like quitting smoking and minimizing alcohol consumption helps to control ED.

  • Talk therapy

Various types of psychological factors can result in erectile dysfunction. Therefore, a right help psychologist or a counselor will help to eliminate the mental strain. Ordinarily, individuals dealing with stress, anxiety post-traumatic stress dysfunction, and depression. Thus, talk therapy will help you if you are suffering from psychological ED. Over several sessions, your therapist will discuss with you:

  • severe stress or anxiety issues
  • your thoughts regarding intimacy
  • subconscious struggles that could be affecting your sexual wellness

ED can impact your healthy relationship; think of consulting a relationship counselor as well. This counselor can help you and your partner to connect emotionally so that the conflicts get resolved.

  • Vacuum Pumps

This treatment works to trigger an erection in a man. The vacuum pumps works to entice the blood flow to the penile organ so that you can attain an erection.

  • A vacuum pump device involves various components such as:
  • a plastic tube, which covers the penile organ
  • a pump, which helps to suck the blood towards the penile organ
  • an elastic ring, which you’ll move to downwards of the penile organ as you remove the plastic tube

The elastic ring works to maintain the erection by accumulating the blood to the male organ. One can use the vacuum pump for up to 30 minutes. You can discuss this with your health expert for more knowledge.

Medications to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Your doctor may prescribe you some medication to control symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Medications are a great alternative to overcome erectile dysfunction, and it has a very high success rate to treat male impotence. The most popular anti-impotent medicines are:

  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • avanafil (Stendra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)

These are PDE5 inhibitor drugs, which are used to control ED. These pills work to boost blood flow to the male organ by inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme. This erection leads to higher secretion of cGMP and nitric oxide. These are the vasodilators; they work to widen the arteries so that the penile organ receives increased blood flow. Finally, the enhanced blood flow results in an erection when a man is sexually stimulated.

These are the branded anti-impotent medicines. However, men prefer buying generic counterparts of these medicines. The generic version provides the same results as the branded drugs, but they are available at the lowest price. Generic medicines are available than the branded ones. Various online pharmacies nowadays provide generic ED medicines.

You must also know that certain medications can cause erectile dysfunction. Inform your health professional if you are observing any symptoms of ED. Your doctor might suggest you another medicine. However, do not stop taking any drugs without informing your health professional. Besides, medications used to treat erectile dysfunction can cause severe side effects. In case if you experience any adverse side effects, take emergency medical help immediately. Do not avoid any severe side effects.