Sexuality is a part of life, starting as far back as when your body starts developing into adulthood in your teenage years. Any problems that affect your sexuality can be difficult to deal with or even discuss, and one of the most common problems people have with having sex is the inability to get or maintain an erection, known as erectile dysfunction (ED).
This condition affects 30 million men in the U.S., and despite it being something that happens to many men as they age, it is not a natural part of the aging process. ED can be temporary or long-term, but the effects of dealing with it can cause stress and affect your personal relationships and your overall quality of life. To better understand it, let’s explore this condition, its leading causes, and ways to treat and prevent it.
Men living in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and South Florida areas looking for treatment of ED or other urological ailments can find help with Drs. Craig Herman, Steven Kester, and the skilled medical team at the Urology Center of Florida.
Erectile dysfunction is defined as either being able to get erect, but not when you want to have sex, having problems staying erect when you’re trying to have sex, or not being able to get erect at all. While sexual arousal is a natural part of life for growing teens and adults, the process itself is far more complicated than you think.
When you become aroused, your body undergoes physical, hormonal, and emotional changes directly affecting your brain, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels that lead to getting an erection. ED can affect any part of this process and can have both physical and emotional components, as anything that affects your sexual performance can lead to anxiety about performing.
Leading causes of ED
Because getting an erection is a process involving hormonal, physical, and emotional stimulation, many factors commonly lead to complications with getting one, including:
When you get an erection, your penis becomes engorged with blood, and anything that interferes with your blood vessels and arteries can impact your ability to become erect. Heart disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and other conditions that affect your vascular system can affect your ability to maintain an erection.
Nerves that stimulate erections can be damaged by neurological problems like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and nerve damage from diabetes.
The brain is a very important part of stimulating an erection, and mental illnesses like depression, anxiety or stress can impact whether your brain becomes stimulated enough to get or maintain one.
Accidents or other injuries that affect your pelvic region can lead to problems with getting and maintaining an erection that can be short- or long-term, depending on the severity.
Other contributing factors include tobacco use, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, and certain medical treatments and medications.
Treatment and prevention
Since ED can be the result of many factors, treating the underlying cause can often help ease symptoms. But treating the condition can be managed with medications, devices, and even lifestyle changes. Oral medications, like sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Adcirca®, Cialis®), vardenafil (Levitra®, Staxyn®), and avanafil (Stendra®) all contain nitric oxide, which helps to increase blood flow and helps you get an erection.
Other medications are used to treat EDl, such as alprostadil (in self-injection or suppository form), and testosterone replacement. Devices such as penis pumps and penile implants can also help. Increased physical activity and exercise are good ways to both improve ED and reduce the chances of dealing with it. Dietary changes and reducing or eliminating smoking and alcohol can also improve symptoms.
Psychological counseling can help if the problems are rooted in emotional issues and other types of treatment are unsuccessful. This is an embarrassing condition to deal with, but don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re suffering. Whatever the cause of your ED, call or book an appointment online today with Drs. Herman and Kester and the Urology Center of Florida to get help.