What is Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. Occasional ED is not necessarily a cause for concern. In fact, 40% of men under the age of 40 experience occasional ED. However, if erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, it can cause stress, affect one’s self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems.
Common causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Causes of erectile dysfunction is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels and can vary from man to man. However, some of the most common causes of ED are stress, lack of sleep, acute or chronic illness, obesity, prescription medications, heart problems, emotional distress or depression, trauma, tobacco use and low testosterone. Since there are multiple factors that can lead to erectile dysfunction, it is important if you are experiencing recurrent trouble getting an erection, keeping an erection or reduced sex drive, that you be evaluated and treated by a health care professional.
Prevention of Erectile Dysfunction
The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to make healthy lifestyle choices and to manage any existing health conditions. Other ways to prevent erectile dysfunction include reducing stress levels, regular exercise, healthy diet, quitting smoking if you smoke, limit or avoid alcohol or illegal drugs, and see your primary care provider for routine screenings and checkups to manage any chronic health conditions and mental health concerns.
Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction
For many a simple physical exam and medical history is all that is needed to diagnose erectile dysfunction and recommend a treatment. If you have a chronic health condition or your provider suspects an underlying condition might be involved, you might need further tests or a consultation with a specialist. Tests can include blood work, urinalysis, ultrasound, psychological evaluation and more.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction
Fortunately, there is good news and hope for men with erectile dysfunction. Depending on the cause and severity of your erectile dysfunction you might have various treatment options. Treatments may include lifestyle changes such as decreasing stress levels and psychological counseling, exercise and weight loss, getting adequate sleep at night, oral medications, hormone replacement therapy, injection medications, penile pumps and implants, alternative medicine and supplements.
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