Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that affects the ability to achieve or maintain penile erection firm enough for sex. Different physical and emotional factors can cause ED and getting the correct diagnosisis essential to ensure you receive the right treatment for the condition.
It is not uncommon for men to experience erection problems from time to time, such as during periods of stress. However, ED that is progressive or becomes a persistent occurrence is not normal and requires further investigation in order to be treated appropriately. In a majority of cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by a physical problem, usually related to the blood supply of the penis. It can also be a symptom of another health problem or health-related factor, and treating the underlying cause may be all that is needed to resolve ED symptoms.
Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
The primary symptoms of ED include:
- Not being able to get an erection at any time.
- The ability to get an erection, but not having it last long enough for sex.
- The ability to get an erection sometimes, but not every time you want to have sex.
Some men with ED may still be able to get an erection at some times, such as when first waking up. This can depend on the underlying cause of the condition.
What Can Cause Erectile Dysfunction?
ED can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Many different factors that affect the vascular system, nervous system, and endocrine system can either cause or contribute to ED. This is because these systems are all important during sexual arousal. The hormone testosterone is important for powering libido.During sexual arousal, the nerves release chemicals that increase the flow of blood into areas of spongy muscle tissue in the penis. As the tissue relaxes, it traps the blood, making the penis firm. During orgasm, another set of nerve signals causes the tissue to contract, releasing the blood from the tissue and back into the blood steam.
Although erectile dysfunction is more common in men over the age of 65, aging does not directly cause the condition. Aging is associated with an increased likelihood of certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Causes of erectile dysfunction can include:
- Hormonal problems
- Surgery or injury to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, pelvis, or bladder
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Lipid disorders, such as high cholesterol
- Prostate problems
- Hypogonadism (not producing enough testosterone)
- Chronic sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea
- Vascular disease/surgery
- Peyronie’s disease
- Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease
Psychological factors can also cause or contribute to ED,such as:
- Relationship problems
Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and smoking can also be contributary factors for ED.
How Is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed and Treated?
In most cases, erectile dysfunction is a highly treatable condition, and recently, many advances have occurred in both the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction.If you are having persistent ED symptoms, visit a men’s health clinic for advice.
To successfully prevent, diagnose, and treat the condition, it is important to accurately identify potential risk factors and rule out underlying health conditions. To diagnose ED, your doctor may:
- Evaluate your health, family, and sexual histories.
- Carry out a physical examination to check for abnormalities.
- Request laboratory tests, such as blood tests, urinalysis, and lipid profile.
- Assess psychological health if ED is related to stress or a mental health concern.
- Request diagnostic imaging tests, such as ultrasound, pelvic X-ray, or MRI.
Erectile dysfunction can be treated at any age. Once your doctor has established a diagnosis based on test results and other factors, they will discuss treatment options with you. If ED is related to an underlying health condition, such as hypertension or low testosterone, symptoms of ED will typically improve once the condition is managed successfully, such as through medications and lifestyle changes.
Other treatments for ED can include:
- Oral medication, including Viagra®, Stendra®, Levitra®, and Cialis®
- Penile injections
- External vacuum erection devices
- Penile prosthesis (surgical implant)
- Psychological counselling
- Penile vibratory stimulation (for ED related to spinal cord injury)
Erectile Dysfunction Specialist Near Me in Phoenix, AZ
If you would like to learn more about effective treatments for erectile dysfunction, contact Ironwood Urology. We provide confidential, high quality, and compassionate patient-focused men’s health care. Our fellowship-trained urologist focuses on all aspects of men’s health, including erectile dysfunction, male infertility, low testosterone, vasectomy and vasectomy reversal, penile prosthetic surgery, prostate health, Peyronie’s disease, robotic urological surgery, and more.
To learn more about the services we offer and how our experienced urologist can help you, call us today at (480) 961-2323, or request an appointment online.