How Erectile Dysfunction is Treated
ED, or as your GP might call it – erectile dysfunction – is the single most typical sexual problem that leads men in the UK to visit their GP. It affects millions of men across the world every single year.
If you have ED, you’re likely to have trouble getting an erection. You may also have trouble keeping that erection once you’ve gotten it. Most men have some ED at some point in their lives, but if it happens often when you try to have sex, it’s not a normal problem, and you’ll want to have it treated.
ED has many different causes. It can be caused if the penis isn’t getting the blood flow it should. It could also be caused because nerves near the penis have been damaged. It may also be a warning sign of a more serious illness like diabetes or high blood pressure. It could also just be the result of stress. Understanding what’s causing your ED will help to treat the problem.
What Causes Erections
Knowing exactly what causes an erection can help you better understand your ED. When you are aroused, your nerves release chemicals in your bloodstream. Those chemicals help to build blood flow to the penis. Inside your penis are two chambers that are packed with spongy tissue. Once the blood flows in, the tissues relax to fill with that blood and trap it. The blood gets caught, pushing your penis to become erect. When you orgasm, nerve signals reach the penis and cause that spongy tissue to contract, releasing the blood back into your body.
Other Risks from ED
If you have ED, you’ll notice that your penis may not become erect as easily. If it becomes a common problem, your GP will have treatments that can help. ED can be a warning sign of other issues, like cardiovascular problems. Some studies have even shown that men who deal with ED risk heart attack and other kinds of problems in the circulatory system.
Besides the risk for physical problems from ED, though, there’s also the risk for emotional ones. Low self-esteem also often accompanies ED as does depression and relationship distress. If it’s affecting your life, you should have it treated.
What Causes ED
ED comes from a number of places. There are a few risk factors that make you more likely to experience it, though. If you are over the age of 50, have existing health problems like diabetes, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a history of cardiovascular disease, you may experience ED. Moreover, you may experience it if you smoke, use drugs, drink regularly, or are obese.
Physical causes of ED may be related to blood flow issues, diseases or injury to the pelvis, diabetes, or treatments for other health conditions like cancer. Medications for other health conditions can also cause ED.
ED may also be a result of emotional issues like depression and anxiety. Added life stress, either at home or at work, may also be a cause of ED.
A Trip to the Doctor
To figure out what’s causing your ED, you may have to visit your GP. He or she will typically do a physical exam to learn more about the problem. You may be asked about your health history and your current lifestyle. Your doctor will need to know as much as possible to uncover the cause of your ED. Your doctor may also ask about your symptoms. He or she will need to know how long you’ve dealt with your ED, whether you experience erections at night, how firm your erections are, and whether you have trouble with your arousal levels and/or ejaculation. You should also expect questions about your stress levels and your overall emotional health.
Your doctor will do a complete physical exam, and he or she may order blood and urine tests to look at potential health problems. You may also have to complete some questionnaires to rate your ability to get and keep erections and to learn more about your satisfaction with your sex life currently.
If your doctor suspects something more serious, expect an ultrasonography to check for blood flow to the penis and pelvic x-rays. You may also get a shot into your penis to stimulate an erection so your doctor can see more about the problem. Sometimes overnight testing is required to check for sleep erections.
The Possibility of a Cure
Treatment for ED could include a number of things. Lifestyle changes like adding certain foods to your diet, increased workouts, and ending recreational tobacco or other drug use may be required. Your GP may also suggest you treat underlying emotional issues.
Sometimes doctors recommend oral medications like Viagra and Cialis to treat ED. Most men take these pills a few hours before having sex, but they can have side effects including headache and muscle aches.
In other cases, testosterone therapy is the right way forward. This is often recommended when low testosterone levels are behind ED. Sometimes this option is combined with oral ED medications.
Penile injections may be the best way to treat it. This usually involves the medication called Alprostadil. It is injected into the side of your penis with a fine needle on your own before sex. It can help you keep an erection for up to thirty minutes.
Vacuum erection devices may help, too. These are plastic tubes that slip over your penis and seal with the skin. The pump creates a vacuum and results in an erection. An elastic ring is then placed at the base of the penis which keeps it hard for thirty minutes.
If it’s a very serious case, implants may be required. Typically this allows men to inflate the implant to make it stiff. The implants usually feel completely natural, and most men are typically able to orgasm normally after the implant is placed.
Some supplements have shown promise in treating ED as well.
If you think you may have ED or you’re concerned that you need the right ED treatment, book a visit with your GP today.