There are three types of erectile dysfunction: Primary erectile dysfunction occurs when a male has never been able to obtain an erection during sexual activity; in other words, his struggle with ED has been a lifelong experience.
Secondary erectile dysfunction is more common and occurs when a male has had the ability to obtain an erection and engage in sexual activity in the past but no longer can. Situational erectile dysfunction occurs when a male experiences erectile problems only on certain occasions e. Having erectile difficulties can be a very troublesome and frustrating experience for many males.
It is important to know that erectile dysfunction is very common and very treatable. Causes and Symptoms There are many factors that can interfere with a male's ability to obtain or maintain an erection. The most common factor is age. With increasing age comes potentially increased physiological and psychological problems, which can be related to erectile difficulties.
One common cause of erectile problems is poor blood circulation in the body, particularly in the penis. Any of several circulatory problems can limit the speed at which blood can flow into the penis, and increased circulatory problems can create increased erectile problems. People who are on cardiac medications which restrict blood flow are also at risk.
Stress is a major cause of erectile problems that is often overlooked. If a male is experiencing considerable pressure at work, facing relationship difficulties, or undergoing myriad other hardships, he may have difficulty obtaining an erection. This can be true for a variety of different reasons.
These factors can prevent a male from experiencing the sexual stimulation required to produce a firm, long-lasting erection. High levels of stress can also affect a man in physiological ways by decreasing blood flow to the penis. A harmful domino effect can take place when erectile dysfunction is caused by stress; if a man is already stressed and has trouble obtaining or maintaining an erection with his partner or by himself, feelings of frustration can lead to even more stress, thus creating a negative feedback loop.
By reducing the feelings of performance anxiety, a man is more likely to overcome the erectile issues he may be experiencing. It is important to breathe deeply, relax, and solve one problem at a time. If you are experiencing erectile difficulties, ask yourself the following questions: Are there ways of reducing stress in your life? Is your partner aware of your situation, and is there a way you can communicate with him or her to reduce performance anxiety?
Perhaps his parents caught him masturbating one day and punished him for it. Perhaps he had a negative sexual experience with a partner, which left him feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Any negative experiences one may have had in the past could have made sex more stressful or negative experience and thus may be causing erectile difficulties. For some males, erectile dysfunction is actually caused by physiological problems rather than psychological ones. In these cases, men should see a doctor who can help diagnose the problem that is affecting their ability to obtain and maintain an erection.
If the aforementioned techniques yield no positive results, it can be very helpful to interview several doctors and clinical psychologists who know of advanced therapies that can help alleviate your condition. Please remember that erectile problems are very common and they can be treated successfully in most instances.
Treatments Psychological Treatments The way to combat these negative associations with sex is to change them to positive ones. Realize that masturbation is perfectly healthy and normal and is actually a great way to learn more about yourself and your sexuality. Recondition yourself by thinking about positive thoughts while masturbating.
Learn more about the beauty of sex and how wonderful it can be in the context of a loving and honest relationship. Try practicing the technique of sensate focus with your partner. In time, you will be able to override the negative thoughts that could be causing ED and become more confident and happy during your sexual experiences. Some side effects of Sildenafil include lightheadedness, dizziness, facial flushing, nasal congestion, indigestion, and very rarely a bluish tint in one's vision.
There are serious side effects when Sildenfil is combined with certain drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and other nitrates that are taken to treat heart disease. Taking Viagra might also reduce romantic spontaneity because you have to take it several hours before sexual intercourse for it to be effective. Presently, there are three FDA-approved drugs on the market to help males with erectile difficulties: Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. All three are scientifically proven to deal with erectile problems.
In , Viagra was the first erectile drug to come onto the market with FDA approval. In , Levitra was introduced into the market with FDA approval. Cialis was approved in for alleviating erectile problems. There are also herbal substances available that supposedly help with erectile difficulties, but they have not received government approval. These drugs do not work on their own, they simply stimulate the release of nitric oxide, a neurotransmitter that widens blood vessels to allow more blood flow into the penis.
External Vacuum Constriction Devices? There are numerous external mechanical aids that are approved by the FDA to aid in erectile dysfunction. Most of the devices require a prescription, so an evaluation by a doctor is necessary. Users of vacuum constriction devices may experience painful ejaculation due to the constriction of the rubber band. Users also should to be patient while relying on these devices, since they can diminish spontaneity of sexual intercourse.
To help counteract this, males can integrate the device into foreplay and include their partner in the pumping action. Males who use the device regularly usually find they can achieve an erection more quickly as they gain experience with the procedure. Internal Devices In cases of complete erectile dysfunction, in which tissue damage or other physiological problems prevent other solutions such as Viagra from being effective, penile implants may be the method of choice.
The surgery needed to insert these implants is usually performed on males between the ages of 40 and 70 years because they will be rendered impotent and suffer irreversible tissue damage as a result of the surgery. This tissue damage will reduce the use of other treatments, such as any oral medication or external vacuum constricting devices.
There are two types of implants: One possible complication of this procedure is infection, which can cause penile erosion and reduced penile sensation. Intracavernosal Injection Intracavernosal injection, or ICI, is best used when the cause of erectile dysfunction is neurological result of brain damage.
The drugs injected into the penis are called vasoactive drugs, which facilitate erection by relaxing the smooth muscle tissues in the penis. Three common drugs used for this technique are Papaverine, Alprostadil, and Phentolamine. There is a high success rate with this form of treatment for males who cannot take oral medication and for males with diabetes, a spinal cord injury, or radical prostatectomy.
Some males find this treatment unnerving because it involves inserting a hypodermic needle into the corpora cavernosa of the penis. Side effects include penile pain, priapism a continuous, usually nonsexual erection , and fibrosis the development of excess fibrous connective tissues in an organ.
Yohimbine This natural substance is found in the bark of the West African Yohimbe tree. The drug that is derived from the chemicals in the Yohimbine tree increases penile firmness enough to help with milder forms of erectile dysfunction. The drug increases blood flow to the penis by indirectly increasing parasympathetic activity in the autonomic nervous system.
There are over-the-counter products containing Yohimbine, but a study conducted by the FDA concluded that the concentration of Yohimbine in these products is negligible and has little or no effect. Some side effects of this drug are anxiety and insomnia.? This method is often called MUSE, which stands for medicated urethral system for erection; it is easy, fast, and produces erections after about 15 minutes by dilating blood vessels in the penis.
Some side effects include hypotension decreased or lowered blood pressure , priapism, urethral burning, syncope a brief loss of consciousness associated with an inadequate flow of oxygenated blood to the brain , and penile pain. Males with partners who are or may be pregnant should not use this method, since it can travel through the placenta of a pregnant female and impact fetal development.
Testosterone Therapy Low testosterone is the cause of erectile dysfunction for a small fraction of males. Treatment may involve injecting testosterone into the body or wearing testosterone patches on the skin. Future Methods There are new and exciting cures already in the works for treating erectile dysfunction.
A new drug called Uprima claims to preserve spontaneity. This drug is placed under the tongue and takes effect in approximately twenty minutes. Researchers are hoping to have the treatment administered via injection only once or twice a year.
Others hope to effectively create a cream that will produce the same results without the use of hypodermic needles. Some gene therapy methods in development directly target smooth muscle tissue in the penis, while others are designed to increase the production of nitric oxide, which open blood vessels and causes vasocongestion.
Helpful Tips The following are general guidelines that one can take to help prevent erectile dysfunction: LeVay, Simon, Janice I.
Baldwin, and John D. Print Last Updated 13 May