What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction is a condition where you are unable to achieve or sustain an erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. It can be either a dysfunction that is rarely suffered or one that is a constant problem. Getting and maintaining an erection involves blood vessels, nerves, muscles, brain messaging, and psychology. Since so many factors are involved in the sustenance of an erection, it is common that sometimes complications may arise. However, this can become a serious concern when the loss of erection is regular.
The symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:
- Inability to get an erection when you wish to have sexual intercourse
- Inability to maintain an erection throughout sexual intercourse
- Inability to experience satisfactory sex
- Inability to get an erection at any point of time
Side effects of erectile dysfunction may include:
- Unsatisfactory sexual intercourse for you and your partner
- Loss of intimacy in your relationship
- Inability to impregnate your partner
- Anxiety, depression and other psychological conditions
Some of the predetermining factors of erectile dysfunction are age, medication, psychological or emotional issues, an unhealthy lifestyle and other diseases or medical conditions.
Who to Approach When Suffering from Erectile Dysfunction?
Urologists are healthcare professionals associated with the treatment of ED. One common misconception that people have is that erectile dysfunction is a part of aging; however, that is not true. ED does not happen with age. In fact, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. Sexual frustration can often cause a number of psychological and physical health issues; thereby, it is essential that you approach a urologist to help treat the symptoms immediately. Individuals usually find it very embarrassing to talk about their sex life but few understand that these symptoms can be relieved and that their sex life does not have to be disrupted because of ED.
Reversible Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Reversible causes largely consist of causes that can be inhibited in order to reverse ED, such as medications that cause ED as a side effect, cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. ED can also be caused by being overweight, suffering from stress, or struggling with your relationship. While these causes are harder to fix, they’re not impossible. Reducing weight, managing stress, and resolving the problems in your relationship will aid in fixing ED. Let’s take a look at the reversible causes of ED.
About 25% of ED is caused as a side effect of certain kinds of medications. The most common ones are a type of high blood pressure medications called diuretics, certain SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, antihistamines, and opioid painkillers. Other medications include Parkinson’s medications. With every type of medication you consume, a list containing its side effects is provided; if you believe that you are suffering from ED as a side effect, it is recommended to go through the list as well as consult your urologist regarding the same.
Recreational drugs, nicotine, and alcohol are all contributing factors in ED. The use of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methadone, amphetamines, or barbiturates makes it difficult to get and maintain a satisfying erection. Similarly, nicotine can also affect your ability to feel aroused and get an erection.
Obesity is another reversible cause of ED. Some of the other diseases caused due to obesity include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, all of which are causes of ED. Obesity also lowers the levels of testosterone, which can be attributed to a lack of sex drive and inability to maintain an erection.
Low testosterone levels, high prolactin levels, abnormal thyroid levels, and low cortisol levels can also cause erectile dysfunction.
High Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol in the blood can damage the blood vessels, including the ones in the penis thereby causing ED. If you suffer from high cholesterol, decreasing it can be effective in resolving your ED.
Irreversible Causes of ED
The irreversible causes of erectile dysfunction are those that need to be treated with ED medication or treatments such as surgery, implants, and injections.
Irreversible causes of ED include:
Problems affecting nerves in the body can also interrupt the nerve messages between the penis and the brain thereby causing ED.
Nerve damage, blood vessel damage, low testosterone levels, depression, and kidney medication all play a significant part in causing ED in patients with kidney failure. Studies show that getting a kidney transplant is a good treatment for ED in kidney patients.
Problems With the Penis
Some of the conditions directly affecting the penis such as curvature, cavernous fibrosis or penile fracture can affect the ability of a penis to become erect. Treatment involves an implant or corrective surgery.
Medications are commonly used in the treatment of ED for causes that cannot be cured otherwise. ED medications are safe, effective, easily available, and have very few side effects; however, consulting with a urologist before taking any supplements or medication for ED is mandatory in order to avoid adverse reactions with pre-existing conditions. The medications most commonly used include:
- Tadalafil (Cialis)
- Vardenafil (Levitra)
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
PRP Injections: Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections are another pain-free procedure that uses PRP drawn from your own blood to treat erectile dysfunction. Your own blood is drawn and later used to prepare the material in the injection with a centrifuge machine. The process makes it possible to separate the plasma, platelets, and red blood cells found in your blood. After the process is complete, the substance is injected directly into the penile tissue. Platelets possess a variety of growth factors and substances with reparative and healing properties that consequently aid to achieve satisfactory sexual intercourse. Most patients begin seeing considerable differences in performance, girth, firmness, and sometimes even length within a few weeks, whereas some have reported a difference in girth immediately after the injection.
PRP for erectile dysfunction is mostly recommended for men who are in good health but do not respond well to other treatment options. The procedure is best suited for individuals who suffer from ED due to physical conditions and not emotional issues.
The loss of sexual satisfaction is one that affects multiple spheres of an individual’s life, and shying away from consulting a specialist who will assess the situation and formulate a treatment will lead to the deterioration of your health. Taking the stance to fix the issue at hand with the various options available and consulting a certified urologist will help you repair your sexual life in no time.