Erectile Dysfunction

What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. While an occasional occurrence of erectile dysfunction is not uncommon, it is a concern should it occur more frequently and for prolonged periods of time. The condition is also referred to as impotence and is likely to be caused by a number of factors – physiological and psychological.

The condition can occur to anyone and at any stage in a man’s life. Generally, an erection caused & sustained by increased blood flow into the penis; the flow of blood is stimulated by sexual activity, arousal or even thoughts. This state of arousal causes the muscles in the penis to relax and allows an increased flow of blood, leading to an erection.

Any disruption to either the psychological or physiological aspect can cause failure to have or sustain the erection.

What causes Erectile Dysfunction?
There are several causes of erectile dysfunction; some of these are physiological causes such as – heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, hormonal imbalances, inadequate levels of testosterone, increasing age and others. On the physiological side, the causes constitute – stress, anxiety, depression, relationship troubles, sleep disorders, excessive use of drugs, smoking and others.

What are the symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?
The symptoms of erectile dysfunction can be enumerated as:

  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Difficulty in sustaining an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • Premature ejaculation

What are the risk factors for Erectile Dysfunction?
Increasing age increases the propensity for a man to have erectile dysfunction. While age is an irreversible risk factor, several other factors also contribute to the increased risk but can be modified or reversed.

These include smoking, diabetes, heart conditions, excessive weight, previous surgical procedures, injuries, increased stress levels, and anxiety.

How is Erectile Dysfunction diagnosed?
While identifying an erectile dysfunction is easy, understanding the underlying causes will require a thorough understanding of the patient’s medical history, present ailments, and some blood & urine tests. Also required are an ultrasound scan, an NPT test, and an injection test to conclusively ascertain the causes of erectile dysfunction in a man.

How is Erectile Dysfunction treated?
Treatment for erectile dysfunction can be achieved both clinically and with the help of physical exercises. These include – Kegel exercises, aerobics, yoga and others. Lifestyle modifications focusing on a healthy diet that provides for – whole grains, vegetables, fruits while limiting alcohol consumption, giving up smoking is also recommended.

In some extreme cases, surgical intervention is also recommended. There are two surgical modes of treating erectile dysfunction – using an implant and vascular modification.

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