Erectile Dysfunction: Causes and Treatment of This Common Condition

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction Overview: Causes and Treatment of This Common Condition and Health

Erectile Dysfunction, also known as ED, is one of the most common male sexual disorders. It is defined by an inability to achieve and maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. This sexual health issue may be caused by a number of physical, physiological and psychological factors.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Physical causes of ED may include:

  • Heart disease
  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Certain prescription medications
  • Tobacco use
  • Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
  • Injury to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder and pelvis
  • Treatments for prostate cancer, most notably the hormone therapies
  • Certain surgeries

Psychological causes of ED may include:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship problems

Treating Erectile Dysfunction

Depending on the cause, treatment for erectile dysfunction may include lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, medications, or surgery. The outlook for men with ED is generally positive. Depending upon the cause, ED may vary from being a temporary condition to a chronic one, with some men experiencing improved erectile function at some point.

Some of the treatment options for ED include:

  • Medications (e.g., Allavit, Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis). These medications work by helping to improve blood flow to the penis.
  • Vacuum devices/penile pumps. These devices are helpful when the medications are not effective.
  • Testosterone therapy. Testosterone therapy may be recommended if other treatments do not work or if the condition is severe.
  • Surgery. Surgery may also be used to treat ED in certain cases.

Preventing Erectile Dysfunction

The best way to prevent ED is to make lifestyle changes that maintain good overall health. These changes involve:

  • Eating a balanced diet and exercising
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing any chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
  • Reducing stress or anxiety
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol and tobacco
  • Treating any underlying physical conditions

Erectile dysfunction can be a difficult condition to talk about and admitting there may be a problem is the first step in finding a cure. Consult your doctor if you think erectile dysfunction may be a problem.

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