What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction refers to the inability to achieve or maintain an erection due to decreased blood flow to the penis or the inability of the penile muscles to relax during sexual activity. It is particularly common in men over the age of 40, as a result of the decrease in testosterone production, although it can also be attributed to other underlying conditions or factors. It can be a temporary problem or a permanent condition, depending on the cause. Erectile dysfunction is very common, with more than 3 millions cases per year in the U.S. alone.
- Trauma to the penis
- High cholesterol
- Metabolic syndrome
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Antidepressant use
- High blood pressure
- Tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Sleep disorders
Psychological Erectile Dysfunction
This type of erectile dysfunction is caused by mental or emotional distress, such as anxiety or emotional trauma.
Peyronie’s Disease is a closely related condition that makes the penis abnormally fibrous and makes it difficult to achieve an erection.
Priapism is a rare form of erectile dysfunction in which a man achieves erection but is unable to get rid of it for hours at a time until the erection becomes painful.
- Inability to achieve an erection
- Inability to maintain an erection
- Low libido
- Poor sexual stamina
- Inability to reach climax
Your primary care physician can diagnose erectile dysfunction based on your medical history and reported symptoms. They will likely order a series of diagnostic tests to evaluate blood flow to the penis and rule out underlying conditions. These diagnostic tests may include penile ultrasonography and penile nerve testing.
The most common method of treatment for erectile dysfunction is medication. These medications can boost libido and increase blood flow to the penis. Some men choose to use devices called “penis pumps” to increase blood flow to the penis immediately before intercourse. Severe cases may require penile prosthesis surgery, in which artificial rods are implanted into the penis.