Treating erectile dysfunction, also known as ED or impotence, remains a subject many men struggle to talk about. And understandably so.
Experiencing a problem downstairs can be pretty distressing. ED can affect your self-esteem, relationships, mental health, and deprive you of the enormous benefits of regular sex.
Yet, erectile dysfunction means different things to different people.
Many describe it as the inability to get an erection. More commonly, medical professionals view ED as an inability to maintain an erection for a reasonable length of time.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction means not being able to get or keep an erection that is sufficent for intercourse. Many men have erectile dysfunction at some time in their lives. It can come and go.
Erectile dysfunction affects about 1 million men in Australia. It is more common in older men.
Erectile dysfunction can have a range of causes, both physical and psychological. It also can be a warning sign of medical illnesses such as heart disease, or diabetes or depression. It is important to raise this issu with your GP so they can investigate and treat this problem.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
The internet will steer you towards any number of ridiculous theories as to the causes of erection problems. However, let’s talk facts.
There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, with most falling into either the physical or psychological category.
Physical causes include:
- Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries that supply the penis with blood)
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Hormonal imbalances
Cigarette smoking, alcohol, drugs, medication side effects, and insomnia are other contributing factors.
Psychological causes include performance anxiety, relationship problems, depression, and stress.
In almost all cases, a combination of factors are at play.
How is ED Diagnosed?
If you haven‘t recently injured your penis or noticed any visible changes, there’s no need for a GP to conduct a physical examination.
However, discovering why you’re experiencing erection issues is essential, especially when considering symptoms of ED may indicate a problem with another part of your body.
Diagnosing erectile dysfunction can be simple once the doctor has identified the critical problems you’re experiencing. It’s also important to highlight that it’s not all about a quick fix.
Diagnosis may involve a blood test and a chat about the most effective next steps.
An ultrasound scan can help in some cases. This is a painless, non-invasive way of getting helpful information about what might be causing the problem.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatments
Once the doctor has figured out what factors are at play, they can discuss any combination of treatments, including:
- Medications to increase blood flow to the penis, such as Viagra.
- Counseling for those who may benefit.
- Talking about how lifestyle habits such as smoking, alcohol, and diet could be contributing factors.
- Referring you to a urologist if they feel surgery is appropriate.
Start With a Visit to Your GP
Parkhill Medical Center’s doctors are best placed to have open and honest conversations about what’s happening and the impact it’s having on you.
Their job is to listen to you and find the best way to tackle the problem.