Erectile dysfunction (ED), previously termed as impotence, is the inability to achieve/ maintain an erection that is sufficient to ensure satisfactory sexual intercourse for both partners. ED may range from mild to severe dysfunction, ranging from partial to total inability to have erections.
Because ED is a great cause of embarrassment to most men, those suffering from it tend to live in denial. They make up various excuses to justify their problem:
- I’m too tired
- I’m young, so I can’t be having any problem
- It doesn’t happen every time
- I’m just not up to it tonight
- I’m too stressed to pay attention
- Maybe I’m not happy with this relationship
- I’ve been drinking too much
You’re not unique in your suffering. A recent study suggests some truly shocking statistics. ED is affecting around 30 million men in the US alone, today.
ED is a serious problem, which often points to other diseases such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis, etc. and hence must not be ignored. Consult your physician today! Determine the cause of the problem, so that suitable corrective measures may be undertaken immediately.
The Erection Mechanism
The following are the steps leading from arousal to an erection of the penis:
- Sexual stimulation and excitement
- Relaxation of their smooth muscles in the genital area
- Dilation of arterioles in the genital area
- Blood fills up spaces of the Corpora Cavernosa in the penis
- Expansion of the Corpora Cavernosa
- Strong pressure exerted on the veins that normally drain blood from the penis
- Exerted pressure allows trapping the blood in the penis
- Thickening, rigidity, and elongation of the penis
- Erector muscle of penis draws the penis forward
- Penis ready for vaginal penetration
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough for penetration. There are
various degrees of erectile dysfunction depending on the difficulty and severity of the problem. ED can be caused by
physical and/ or psychological conditions. For more information on ED, please visit our ED room.
Physical Factors (80% cases of ED)
Vascular Diseases: Arteriosclerosis, heart disease or stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
Metabolic disorders: Characterized by excessive urine discharge and constant thirst, especially the two types of Diabetes
Nerve Disease: Spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, pelvic fractures and nerve degeneration
Cancer treatment: Surgery performed for colon, rectal or prostate cancer and even radiation therapy in the pelvic area
Hormonal Problems: Low levels of the male hormone testosterone affect the desire for sex
Side Effects of Medications: Medications including anti-hypertensives (blood pressure medications) or medications
prescribed for depression or mood disorders
Alcohol: Long-term, excessive drinking can cause nerve and liver damage and hormone imbalances
Smoking: Studies suggest that men who smoke have a greater chance of developing ED than men who don’t use tobacco
Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of exercise may lead to ED.
Physical Factors (80% cases of ED)
Anxiety: Anxiety about sexual performance
Stress: Stress at home, work or in general
Depression: Depression can lead to some degree of ED, and vice versa
Relationship Problems: Tensions between sexual partners, whether related to sexual issues or others
Psychosocial causes can occur alone or in combination with one or more of the physical causes of ED.
Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosis
A preliminary investigation is conducted to determine the origin of the erectile dysfunction. Your physician will ask you a
series of questions related to your medical history, lifestyle and even emotional wellbeing. It is important that you answer
these questions carefully and without being embarrassed about them.
Blood tests: Male hormone levels are measured and tests are conducted to eliminate diseases such as diabetes from the
list of potential causes.
Penile nerve function: Physical tests are performed to determine sufficient nerve sensation in the penis.
Ultrasonography: Duplex ultrasound is used to assess the adequacy of arterial circulation in the genital area.
Nocturnal Penile Tumescence (NPT): Various methods are used to measure changes in penile rigidity and girth
during nocturnal erections.
Cavernosometry: This test measures vascular pressure in the penis.
Treatment and care
Your doctor or other healthcare professional will suggest several treatment options for your problem, depending on its severity.
Oral Medication (prescription): Oral medications such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra are used in the treatment of ED.
The currently available oral medications are called PDE5 inhibitors, which work to restore a normal system of blood flow in
the penis so that an erection can be achieved upon stimulation. However, these are usually accompanied by long lists of
possible nasty side effects.
Oral Medication (herbal remedies): These are supplements that might be taken before sexual activity to improve
erectile function. Usually, herbal supplements like Niagra are a combination of herbs, vitamins and minerals that are
risk-free and do not involve any side effects.
Sex Counseling: Consulting a trained counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist may help you identify, understand and deal
with your sexual distress.
Penile Injection Therapy: Shortly before sexual activity, the patient injects a medication that increases blood flow to the
Intraurethral Therapy: Pellets of a medication that increases blood flow are inserted into the urethra (through which
urine flows out).
Vacuum Therapy: A vacuum device is used to cause blood to flow into the penis and a constriction ring is placed at its
base to maintain the erection.
Penile Implant Surgery: This is a device that is surgically inserted into the penis and used when there is a desire for
Before starting any medication for ED, it may be advisable to make some simple changes to your daily routine. Your doctor or healthcare professional may recommend and help you follow a few of these:
- Stress management
- Quit smoking
- Reduce alcohol intake