What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the
inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It
is also sometimes also referred to as impotence.
Occasional ED is not uncommon. Many
men experience it during times of stress. However, frequent ED can be a sign of
health problems that need treatment. It can also be a sign of emotional or
relationship difficulties that may need to be addressed by a professional.
Not all male sexual problems are
caused by ED. Other types of male sexual dysfunction include:
- premature ejaculation
- delayed or absent ejaculation
- lack of interest in sex
How Common Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Up to 30 million American men are
affected by ED, according to the National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The
prevalence of ED increases with age. ED affects only four percent of men in
their 50s, but nearly 17 percent of men in their 60s. Furthermore, almost half
of all men over the age of 75 will suffer from ED.
the risk of ED increases with age, ED is not an inevitable consequence of
getting older. It may be more difficult to get an erection as you age, but that
does not necessarily you mean you will develop ED. In general, the healthier a
man is, the better his sexual function.
How Does a Man Get an Erection?
An erection is the result of
increased blood flow into the penis. Blood flow is usually stimulated by either
sexual thoughts or direct contact with the penis.
When a man becomes sexually
excited, muscles in the penis relax. This relaxation allows for increased blood
flow through the penile arteries. This blood fills two chambers inside the
penis called the corpora cavernosa. As the chambers fill with blood, the penis
grows rigid. Erection ends when the muscles contract and the accumulated blood
can flow out through the penile veins.
ED can occur because of problems at
any stage of the erection process. For example, the penile arteries may be too
damaged to open properly and allow blood in.
The potential causes of ED are
numerous. They include:
- cardiovascular disease
- damage from cancer or surgery
- relationship problems
- drug use
- alcohol use
These factors can work singly or in
What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?
ED is defined by an inability to
get or sustain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. It has no other
What Is the Outlook for Erectile Dysfunction?
ED is a treatable condition. There
are a number of ED treatments available. The type of treatment generally
depends on the underlying cause of ED.
Treatments for ED range from
counseling and lifestyle changes to drugs and surgery. If you suffer from ED,
it is important to talk to your doctor. A doctor can help identify the cause of
your ED and figure out the most appropriate treatment.
Because it can be embarrassing to
discuss ED, many men look for treatment options online. However, not all
treatments are safe for all men. You should not self-prescribe for ED. In
addition, many of the treatments available on the Internet are scams. They may
not help your ED, and could damage your health.