Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability to get or keep an erection. Most men know what it is, and almost 40 percent of men experience symptoms at some stage during their lifetime.
One of the big issues with erectile problems is that they are embarrassing to talk about, or to ask other people questions about.
To help those who have questions, here are some of the most common we get asked by men who visit our clinic for treatment.
What exactly is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is not being able to sustain an erection. This condition interferes with a mans ability to have sexual intercourse or make sex less satisfying. Over time, it can also lead to self-confidence problems and may even impact romantic relationships.
The ability to become sexually aroused is a complicated process. Emotions, thoughts hormones, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles all play an intricate part. When any of these elements aren’t in line, it can cause some kind of dysfunction.
On a biological level, an erection is simply a physiological process resulting in increased arterial blood flow to the penis. Erectile dysfunction happens when that blood flow is compromised, making it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection.
Is it Possible to Have ‘a little’ or Occasional ED?
In a word, yes. It is possible to have varying degrees of erectile dysfunction and not all men experience the same symptoms.
Some men may have intermittent problems with getting or maintaining an erection, while other men might have slightly decreased erection hardness or difficulty maintaining erections for a longer period of time.
Generally speaking, there is a difference between occasional ‘performance problems’ and erectile dysfunction. A man would need to be experiencing erectile dysfunction the majority of the time to be diagnosed with the condition.
What are the Most Common Causes of ED?
There are multiple causes for erectile dysfunction, some physical, some mental. In a majority of ED cases, high blood pressure is to blame.
When aroused, the brain sends signals to nerve receptors in the body that increase blood flow to the penis. This extra blood flow results in the pressure necessary to make it firm, or erect.
The penis will remain hard until either ejaculation occurs or arousal stops. In most cases, circulation or blood flow problems are at fault for erectile problems.
Even though high blood pressure sounds like it should help, the reality is that blood pressure prevents the arteries that carry blood to the penis from expanding. This causes a lack of blood flow to the penis and stops it from becoming erect.
Erectile problems can also be a warning sign of heart disease, as a narrowing of the arteries can make it difficult for the penis to receive enough blood flow to become erect.
Can Stress or Nerves Cause ED?
In some cases, men with no circulatory problems or chronic medical conditions can still experience erectile dysfunction. Sometimes, difficulty achieving an erection can actually be linked to stress, fatigue, or nervousness about sexual performance.
Particularly In younger men, situational erectile dysfunction caused by stress and anxiety related to sex, work stress, or other life pressures.
Unfortunately, worrying about not being able to get an erection can sometimes prevent you from achieving one. Some men find that sexual performance fears can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. In some cases, it can help to talk to a therapist, or an erectile dysfunction doctor about possible treatment options.
What other treatments (such as injection therapy, implants, vacuum devices, or surgery) are available? What are the pros and cons of these treatments?
Is ED Permanent or Can it be Cured?
Fortunately, ED can be effectively and permanently treated in almost all men.
In many men, a healthier lifestyle and diet can help prevent and sometimes reverse ED. In other cases, working with a mental health professional can help alleviate erectile dysfunction problems that are caused by stress and anxiety.
In persistent cases, treating ED can be helped with treatments such as GAINSWave, which utilizes high frequency, low-intensity sound waves to improve blood flow to the penis, remove micro-plaque, and stimulate the growth of new blood vessels.