The process of erection is a complex process that involves the role of mind, nerves, emotions, muscles and blood vessels. During sexual arousal, the nerve cells receive the signals and release chemicals that increase the flow of blood to the penis.
There are two spongy chambers in the penis that dilates, get filled and decreases the outflow of blood from the penis and causes erection
Erectile dysfunction in men may be defined persistent inability to get or maintain a firm erection so as to have a sexual intercourse. It is also referred as impotence or in short ED.
The occasional erection issue may be common, but if ED is frequent it may be a sign of health problems, mental stress or relationship problems.
ED can be easily self-diagnosed. Any kind of test or imaging is rarely required. Treatment of ED mainly involves evaluation and treatment of underlying physical and psychological factors. Medication and assistive devices are prescribed in case former do not work.
Given below are the factors that contribute to Erectile Dysfunction in men:
- Ageing– ED increases from 5% to 15% by increasing age.
- Vasculogenic causes- This involves conditions that affect the flow of the blood to the penis such as:
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- Diseases of heart and blood vessels.
- Diabetes- Condition caused due to the increase in blood sugar levels.
- Neurogenic causes – It includes factors that affect our nervous systems such as:
- Multiple sclerosis- Condition in which body’s movement and balance are affected
- Parkinson’s disease- It affects the coordination of the brain and body movements.
- Stroke – It arises due to interruption of the blood supply to the brain.
- Spinal injury.
- Hormonal disorders such as:
- Hypogonadism- Abnormally low levels of sex hormones.
- Hypothyroidism- Where thyroid hormone production is decreased.
- Hyperthyroidism- Where thyroid hormone production is high.
- Anatomical conditions- such as pelvic surgery and Peyronie disease that affects the tissues of the penis.
- Psychological causes– Such as stress, performance anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem may also result in Erectile Dysfunction in men.
- Other causes– Beside above symptoms, smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, overweight and lack of exercise, antidepressants, tranquillizers, and anti-hypertensive drugs may also contribute to ED.
Management of Erectile dysfunction in men is discussed below:
- Lifestyle changes- This includes losing weight, avoid smoking and alcohol, exercising regularly and reducing stress.
- Ask your doctor to substitute medicines that cause ED.
- Consulting the counselor to resolve relationship problems and other emotional issues.
- Treating underlying cause for example management of diabetes, hyperthyroidism, etc.
- The doctor may prescribe medicines to relax muscles or to stimulate blood circulation to the penis and reduce stress and anxiety.
- In some cases, testosterone replacement, penis pump, and penile implants are also suggested by the doctor.
If erectile dysfunction in men may result in stress and affects the confidence. Ongoing ED may also be a sign of some underlying disease or relationship problems. It may be a risk factor for heart disease, so in spite of being embarrassed, it is better to consult your doctor.