Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as ED or impotence, is estimated to affect almost 18 million men in the U.S.  This number equals approximately 22% of the American male population, so it is important to know that with the wide variety of treatments available for erectile dysfunction today, most men can easily resolve this issue by contacting their doctor to discuss their options.

Male erectile dysfunction by definition is the chronic inability to achieve or maintain an erection satisfactory for sexual intercourse. There are many reasons a man may experience an erectile disorder. Common problems with erections may stem from taking certain medications, chronic illnesses, drinking too much alcohol or even simply being too tired.  In fact, any disorder that causes injury to the nerves or impairs blood flow in the penis has the potential to cause erectile dysfunction.

If you suspect you may have an issue with male erectile dysfunction, you should consult your healthcare provider to schedule an examination and to determine a treatment plan. Your doctor will ask certain questions, perform a physical exam and run a series of tests used to help diagnose the exact problem.

Your medical as well as sexual background can help your doctor to determine the cause of the erectile dysfunction. The medical history helps to identify any diseases you currently have or have had in the past that may lead to erectile dysfunction. A conversation about your sexual background can help your doctor discover problems that may effect this situation such as erection, sexual desire and orgasm and ejaculation.

The physical examination helps our doctor diagnose systemic problems. For example, decreased pulses in your wrists or ankles can indicate a circulatory problem; abnormal hair patterns or breast enlargement can be the sign of hormonal issues, or if the penis is not sensitive to touch, you may have nervous system issues that are causing the erectile disorder.

Common tests used in making an ED diagnosis include blood counts, urinalysis and lipid profiles. Your doctor may also decide to order a psychosocial examination which usually consists of an interview and questionnaire that may reveal any psychological factors that may be causing the issue.

Suggested treatments for erectile dysfunction are can range from simply making a few lifestyle changes to less common more invasive surgeries. For some men, simply making a few healthy lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, exercising more and losing weight may solve the problem. A common cause of many erectile disorders is due to the use of illegal or prescription drugs. An amazing 25% of ED issues are direct side effects of drugs and can be corrected by reducing or substituting certain medications.

The most popular effective treatment for ED is medication. There are several prescription drugs options for ED that can be taken by mouth or injected directly into the penis.

If your doctor has determined that you are dealing with a psychologically based ED issue, they may suggest a technique designed to decrease the anxiety associated with sexual intercourse. Often, the patient’s partner is involved with this treatment which includes a gradual development of intimacy and stimulation.

For more severe cases, surgery can be performed to insert a penile prosthesis, which can help to restore erections for many men with erectile dysfunction. These devices can be used to cause the penis to become erect, reconstruct arteries to increase flow of blood to the penis and to block off veins that allow blood to leak from the penile tissues.

Most men can easily overcome erectile dysfunction with the wide variety of treatment options available today. Consult your doctor to determine the most effective treatment for you.