Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a very distressing issue for men to go through, but it’s more common than you think. It is estimated that up to 18 million US men are experiencing some form of erectile or sexual dysfunction at any given time. Although it may be something that is often avoided in conversation, you must look into the issue if you are facing it because it may have a number of different causes. At worse, it may be an indication of more significant heart-related issues, although for many it’s a simple problem that can be overcome either through medication or therapy. Here are the health issues that may be at the core of your ED and how to seek treatment.
Anxiety and Stress
By far the most common cause of erectile dysfunction with young men is anxiety, including concerns to do with experience, performance, and pregnancy. However, anxiety and stress are also widespread in older men, particularly to do with work or day-to-day life. Often the best treatment here is therapy, exercise, and stress management. Treatment will depend on the root cause of your anxiety or depression.
One of the leading causes of short-term ED, drugs like cannabis, cocaine, or even alcohol can all cause the condition. In this particular case, no specific treatment will be needed except for abstaining from drugs and getting help if you believe you have an addiction.
Studies have found diabetic men are 3.5 times more likely to suffer from ED than the general population. Getting a check-up with your doctor may help diagnose the condition early, thereby preventing damage to the blood vessels and nerves, and allow you to get back on track to a healthy body and sex life.
High Blood Pressure
Erectile dysfunction is sometimes a warning sign for conditions like high blood pressure. After diagnosis, the first port of call is a PDE5 inhibitor (like Viagra or Cialis). If pills are not an option, other remedies like alprostadil pellets can help depending on your doctor’s advice. Other vasculogenic conditions like high cholesterol may also be linked to your ED, making diagnosis important for treatment.
ED may be an early warning sign of heart disease caused by atherosclerosis, the clogging of arteries with plaque which inhibits blood flow. Often, in this case, an overall lifestyle change will be encouraged, including increased exercise, weight loss, and stopping smoking. Viagra may also work, but you need to see a health specialist to fully combat your ED and heart disease.
Conditions that affect the nervous system, like multiple sclerosis, spinal injuries, or Parkinson’s disease, can also affect your sexual health. Drugs are often used as a treatment in these cases, with intracavernosal therapy remaining the most widely used and successful treatment.
Several hormonal conditions can cause ED, including hypogonadism, a condition that lowers natural testosterone, and Cushing’s syndrome, the over-production of cortisol. Often the best treatment in these cases is hormone therapy. To this end, men naturally produce less testosterone as they get older, which in turn causes more issues with ED. Hormonal boosts may be recommended — either as pills or rub-on lotion — in addition to drugs like Viagra.
Although ED tends to be psychologically induced or a result of underlying conditions, it may also be caused by anatomical problems. Within this health issue, the little-understood Peyronie’s disease, caused by scar tissue forming in the penis to the extent that it causes curves when erect, can be both a cause of ED and pain. Upon diagnosis, medications like collagenase, verapamil, and interferon will be recommended, but the condition has also been known to heal over time.
ED is a symptom of a range of health conditions that are both physical and psychological. To best combat this issue and move on to a healthier sex life, diagnosis is crucial. In the meantime, lifestyle changes remain one of the most important treatments for curing ED. Whether that’s reducing stress or exercising more, a healthier body and mind often leads to reduced ED.