Erectile dysfunction, or ED, impacts about 30 million American men. Sadly, many are too ashamed to seek treatment for the inability to achieve and sustain a firm erection, particularly if the condition seems caused by emotional or psychological issues.
Here’s more on the emotional causes of ED and how your urologist can help.
ED Can Start in Your Mind
While erectile dysfunction may stem from several physical conditions, such as diabetes, circulatory problems, or physical injury to the groin or genitals, this common men’s health issue may also originate in emotions. In fact, many men’s health experts say that a man’s emotional and psychological well-being impacts how well he performs in the bedroom.
For instance, the actual desire to have sex and the ability to get a firm enough erection to complete intercourse decreases significantly for men with:
- A high level of life and/or job stress
- Interpersonal problems with their spouses or significant others
- Depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems
- A lack of self-confidence and self-esteem due to occasional episodes of erectile dysfunction
This last issue–occasional ED– can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Men may develop performance anxiety simply because they have in the past been sometimes too ill or upset to get a sufficient erection. The fear of ED can itself have a downward spiral effect on penile function.
Erectile Dysfunction Evaluation and Treatment
Your urologist and men’s health specialist is the person to see regarding persistent ED. Your urologist will discuss your symptoms with you, perform a physical examination of your genitals, and review your medical history. You may need to provide a urine sample for lab analysis and have blood work done to rule out physical causes of erectile dysfunction, such as high cholesterol or diabetes. Finally, your urologist may also perform a special kind of ultrasound evaluation of your penis to uncover structural or blood flow problems.
You will also talk about potential relationship problems or other stressors in your life that may be contributing to your ED. Your provider may also screen you for anxiety and depression, which are frequent contributors to ED.
There are many highly individualized solutions to the physical causes of ED, including medication, vacuum pumps, injections, and more (such as controlling chronic medical conditions, like diabetes and high cholesterol). Your urologist may recommend counseling or psychiatric services to explore the emotional underpinnings of erectile dysfunction if present. Some men may need a combination of both physical and mental health interventions for the best possible results. In any case, please don’t wait. ED is so common, and it’s highly treatable.
Best Erectile Dysfunction Doctor in Phoenix and Gilbert, AZ
At Ironwood Urology, our professional team is led by a board-certified urologist and men’s health specialist Dr. Desiderio Avila. He has a thorough understanding of men’s health issues, such as ED, and helps men successfully achieve a satisfying and healthy sex life once again.