Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and what are the causes

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a major sexual health issue affecting males from almost all age groups. It is a condition in which when a man can not get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. This condition is also termed as Impotence. There are almost more than 10 million cases of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) reported per year world wide. The number of men suffering from erectile dysfunction increases with age, but it is not considered a normal part of aging. The majority of cases can be successfully treated.This number can go up due to recent changes social and lifestyle modification.

Erectile Dysfunction can be easily self diagnosed and can be treated effectively after a consultation with a qualified professional. However, Lab tests or imaging are rarely required for the diagnosis purpose.

 Causes

Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of a physical or psychological condition. It can cause stress, relationship strain and low self-confidence.There are wide range of causes for Erectile Dysfunction like diseases, medications, injuries, and psychological problems.

Circulatory problems: Usually an erection happens when the penis fills with blood at the base of the penis traps it. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, clots, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can all interfere with this process. Such circulatory problems are the number one cause of erectile dysfunction. Frequently, erectile dysfunction is the first noticeable symptom of cardiovascular disease.

Cancer: Some types of Cancer can interfere with nerves or arteries that are vital to erection.

Surgery:  When we perform some type of surgeries  to the pelvis, especially prostate surgery for
prostate cancer, can damage the nerves and arteries that are required to gain and maintain an erection.

Hormonal disorders: Erectile Dysfunction can occur when there is a lack of testosterone (male sex hormone) which is a result from testicular failure, pituitary gland problems, or certain medications.

Depression: This is one of the major cause of erectile dysfunction. Depression is a physical disorder as well as a psychiatric one, and it can have physical effects. This may be true even if you feel comfortable in a sexual situation.

Alcoholism: Chronic alcoholism can produce erectile dysfunction, even if there is no alcohol in the blood at the time of sex.

Smoking: Smoking cigarettes causes constriction of blood vessels. This may decrease blood flow to the penis, causing erectile dysfunction.

Performance anxiety: Most men have had erection problems at some point due to worrying about performing well during sexual intercourse. If this happens often, the anticipation of sex can trigger nervous reactions that prevent erection, setting up a vicious cycle.

Sexual aversion: Being repelled by sex is rare. It is most common in people who suffered child abuse and those who have been brought up in strict religious surroundings. Aversion can also exist in homosexual or bisexual people who attempt to lead a heterosexual life against their basic inclinations.

Drugs: The following are some of the drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction:*
  • Alcohol
  • Anticancer medications
  • Antidepressants (e.g., citalopram, paroxetine, sertraline, amitriptyline)
  • Drugs like cocaine, heroin, marijuana, opioids
  • Diuretics (e.g., spironolactone, chlorthalidone)
  • Antianxiety drugs and sedatives (e.g., diazepam)

Symptoms

The main symptom is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Those affected with this condition also experiences reduced sex drive
Patients suffering from erectile dysfunction should first be evaluated for any underlying physical and psychological conditions. If treatment of the underlying conditions doesn't help, medication and assistive devices, such as pumps, can be prescribed



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