Our ability to have healthy sexual relationships and activity depends heavily on the body’s physical health and genital health. When it comes to sexual health, discussions about sexually transited diseases and protection are usually prioritized, however it is important to consider erectile dysfunction as well.
Erectile dysfunction can have a major impact on sexual activity, sexual health and relationships with sexual partners. But most importantly, erectile dysfunction can have an effect on the confidence and quality of life of the man being diagnosed with this condition.
Not sure about what erectile dysfunction is? Let’s start off with the basics.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
The inability to have an erection for sex or keep an erection firm enough to finish having sex is called erectile dysfunction. This condition used to be called impotence. Having problems getting or keeping an erection occasionally is pretty common and should not be regarded as a serious problem. However, if the problem of getting and maintaining an erection is a frequent offense, it can increase your risk of being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is a very common condition with data showing that this condition affects approximately 30 million men in the United States of America. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study published by the Journal of Urology showed that there is a strong correlation between age and being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.
The study revealed that there is a 52% prevalence between aging and men who are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. The chance of being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction increases from 5% at age 40 to 15% at age 70. Additionally, the researchers reported that approximately 40% of men are affected at the age of 40, and 70% of men are affected at the age of 70.
What are the symptoms?
- There are only a few symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
- The inability to remain erect enough to complete sexual activity even though you were able to get hard in the first place.
- Erections not hard enough for penetration and or too initiate satisfaction or completion of a sexual act.
- The inability to have a penile erection.
- A reduce in libido or sexual desire
What are the causes of Erectile Dysfunction?
Because there are so many body systems involved in the process of sexual arousal, there are numerous causes of erectile dysfunction. In addition to age, the causes of erectile dysfunction can be divided into different categories including the following
- Psychological problems
- Nerve functioning conditions
- Endocrine conditions
- Substance Use and Abuse
- Urological problems
Some of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction are:
Men diagnosed with diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with dysfunction as well. A study published by the American Diabetes Association reported that men diagnosed with either type of diabetes have a 20 to 70% increased risk of being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. This data is supported by another research study that reported that men with diabetes are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction 10 to 15 years earlier than men who are not diagnosed with diabetes.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Having high blood pressure can also increase the risk of being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. High blood pressure can cause damage to the lining of the blood vessels over time and leads to atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of arteries. This hinders the flow of blood through the body and lessens the amount of blood and the ability of blood flow to the penis. This causes men to have difficulty achieving and maintaining erections and can affect ejaculations and reduce libido. Furthermore, the medications used to treat high blood pressure can also cause the person to have symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease but a compilation of major risks factors including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal weight gain, and unhealthy cholesterol. The relationship between these risk factors places you at a higher risk of being diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, becoming obese and having a stroke. A research article published by the Translational Andrology and Urology journal discovered that men who are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome have lower IIEF scores, which is a questionnaire used to diagnose erectile dysfunction. Additionally, men with metabolic syndrome experience more moderate to severe erectile dysfunction than men who were not diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Trauma to the pelvic area may cause erectile dysfunction as it can damage important organs, tissues and even arteries that play a vital role in sexual arousal.
Substance use and abuse
Using recreational drugs both legal and illegal can increase your risk of being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. The most popular legal drugs used in the United States are alcohol and nicotine, which is found in cigarettes. Alcoholism causes nerve damage and atrophy, which is responsible for lowering testosterone levels and shrinking the testicles. While smoking cigarettes intensifies atherosclerosis and causes artery spams. Abusing these substances heavily increases your risk of being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.
Depression and Anxiety
Suffering from psychological conditions such as anxiety, including performance anxiety, depression, and even stress or guilt can affect your sexual health and risk of being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. These psychological conditions affect how the brain communicates with the body via chemicals, which in essence can cause a lower libido and satisfaction of sexual activity. The medication used to address these conditions also increase your risk of being diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.
The first step in your treatment process for erectile dysfunction begins with talking to your doctor so that they can assess the severity of your condition and create a proper treatment plan. Some of the options available in your treatment plan are:
- Modifying your medication plan for other condition as much as possible so that they increase your risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
- Adjusting to a healthier lifestyle that promotes sexual health which includes exercising, quitting smoking or using other recreational drugs and having a healthy, balanced diet.
- Taking medicine that dresses erectile dysfunction such as Viagra or Stendra.