Erectile Dysfunction: Causes And Treatments
Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, as it was more commonly called in the past, is when a man is unable to achieve or sustain an erection. Because of the psychological effect it can have on a man as well as his partner, it's important to explore possible causes and methods of treatment. Here's what you should know about this surprisingly common condition.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
A man of any age can experience erectile dysfunction, but it increases with age. It has been said that for every decade of life, the occurrence of occasional impotence increases by 10 percent. For example, 60 percent of men in their sixties will experience occasional or frequent problems achieving or sustaining an erection.
Oftentimes, health conditions common in advancing age and the medications that are taken to treat them can be the culprit. For example, heart disease and diabetes narrow the blood vessels, which increases blood pressure. The medication your doctor prescribes to lower your blood pressure may interfere with the sufficient blood flow a penis needs to become erect. Medications that are commonly prescribed for depression and anxiety can also cause problems in the bedroom. Erection difficulties aren't uncommon, nor is a lowered sex drive.
Low testosterone can also be the culprit. Just as a woman's hormone levels change and drop, especially after menopause, so do a man's as he ages. Additionally, poor eating habits, drinking too much, illicit drug use, and smoking cigarettes are just some of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Lastly, emotional reasons may be behind erection difficulties. Men are not exempt from stress, issues with desire, feeling unloved or disrespected or other dynamics.
How Is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?
First, your doctor needs to determine whether or not the problem is physical or emotional in nature. A man who can achieve an erection in the morning when testosterone levels are highest or during a sexual dream is more likely to have emotional issues at play rather than physical causes. For emotional causes, counseling can potentially help.
For physical causes, the doctor will look at your health issues as well as the current medications you are on. They will also explore any lifestyle habits that could be adversely affecting your performance. After assessing this information, your physician may decide to change one or more of your medications, recommend lifestyle changes, or prescribe erectile dysfunction treatment meds. In addition to the Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra pills commonly seen on pharmaceutical commercials, there are also drugs that are injected into the penis as well as testosterone supplementation.