Erectile Dysfunction Information
Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to obtain or maintain an erection. Erectile dysfunction is more common than most men realize, with 90% of men experiencing erectile dysfunction at least once in their lives and 60% experiencing erectile dysfunction severe enough to affect their daily lives for an extended period of time. Until recently, most men who experienced erectile dysfunction did not seek treatment.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction vary little. Erectile dysfunction may mean that a man can not attain an erection at all. It can also mean that while an erection is achieved, it can not be sustained long enough for sexual intercourse. As men age, it may take longer to achieve an erection as well as require more recovery time from one erection to the next. This tends to have a serious effect on men’s self esteem. Men of any age can experience erectile dysfunction.
There are numerous causes associated with erectile dysfunction. A low percentage of this condition is caused by a mental or emotional issue. Age can be a factor, but typically not a cause. Side effects of many medications can cause sexual dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction. ED can also be caused by illness. Fractures, injuries, and drug or alcohol abuse can be causes for erectile dysfunction.
Sometimes these causes and risk factors can fully explain erectile dysfunction, and sometimes there seems to be no actual cause or risk factor involved. Hereditary factors have not been fully explored due to a lack of availability of subjects and the disillusion that men have had that erectile dysfunction was a symbol of weakness or homosexuality.
Erectile dysfunction is easy to diagnose, and in fact can typically be self diagnosed. However, when erectile dysfunction begins to hamper every day life or cause sexual problems or a low self image, it is time to seek medical assistance.
Treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on the apparent causative factor. Often treatment may be based on the cause or treatment may attempt to correct the dysfunction first and then deal with cause, depending on several base factors. It is not uncommon for sexual dysfunction to be the warning sign for a more serious illness, and often blood tests and urinalysis can be performed in order to rule out or diagnose an underlying, undiagnosed disease. If medication is the problem, it is not unusual for a physician to switch to a different medication that is less likely to cause erectile dysfunction as long as it is tolerated by the patient.
Erectile dysfunction medications are known to be effective treatments for many men with erectile dysfunction. ED with no known medical cause can often be treated with a prescription of these medications. If a previously diagnosed disease, such as diabetes, is the cause most often these medications can be added safely to the self care regimen. Injection therapies have been shown to produce results in men who either can not take erectile dysfunction medication or who have had little success with them. A tiny needle injects alprostadil into the base of the penis, either by a medical professional or in the home. The alprostadil is injected into spongy cylinders inside the penis which typically fill with blood and produce and erection within 20 minutes that lasts about an hour. Bleeding from the injection site, a prolonged erection, or the eventual development of scar tissue at the injection site are all possible side effects, although the results have been more positive than with medications. Hormone therapies have helped those who are simply lacking enough hormones to produce or maintain an erection. Vascular surgery or penile implants are options for men who have not found a successful method of treatment. These are extreme methods and should be last resorts. Psychological counseling may be recommended if an underlying psychological problem is suspected.
Regardless of whether erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological factors or not, ED can easily lead to psychological issues. Counseling is recommended for those who are seriously impacted by erectile dysfunction. The more pressure that is placed on the need to perform, the worse ED can become, even when it stems from a physical factor. Finding alternative methods of intimacy can ease the strain of erectile dysfunction.