What Causes Erectile Dysfunction and What Can You Do About It?

Tell your doctor if you have any of these problems and have signs of ED. So it's important to eat healthy foods and get enough exercise to help you stay in good health. Penile injection therapy. If you don't want to use medicine, or if medicine doesn't work for you, you may want to talk with your doctor about some of the following options. These mental issues include: Additional reporting by Laura Geggel. If your GP feels this type of exercise could be beneficial, then you may want to discuss it with a physiotherapist to learn it correctly.

Hormones and other medicines may be prescribed for men who have low testosterone or high prolactin levels. Also known as impotence, it renders the patient unable to have sexual intercourse. Antihypertensives (high blood pressure drugs). In making a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction (ED), your doctor will start by taking a detailed medical and psychosexual history and conducting a thorough physical examination. Having surgery to place an implant in the penis. Each night during deep sleep, a man normally has three to five erections.

If lifestyle and relationship improvements are not sufficient to improve ED, doctors may recommend medications. Every surgery has its benefits and drawbacks. If you’ve experienced erection problems, you’re not alone. Left untreated, ED can contribute to worsened stress and anxiety as well as low self-esteem, relationship problems, and impotence. However, erectile dysfunction related to nerve damage from diabetes or vascular disease typically is not reversible and often progressively gets worse. Some men find that intense anxiety about sex prevents certain treatments from working.

Causes of impotence are many and include heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Peyronie's disease, substance abuse, sleep disorders, BPH treatments, relationship problems, blood vessel diseases (such as peripheral vascular disease and others), systemic disease, hormonal imbalance, and medications (such as blood pressure and heart medications). Then work toward treatment options that will get you feeling back to your old self again. This sometimes leads to questions about the quality of your sexual relationships and sexual intimacy, such as frequency, sexual expectations from you and your partner, or any performance anxiety that may exist. Examining your relationships and life events. Younger men are typically better candidates for this type of procedure.

  • For the blood to flow into the penis, the muscles in it have to be relaxed, and when it contracts again, the blood flows out, signalling the end of the erection.
  • An erection occurs when blood fills the penis.

Complementary Therapies

For men with ED, this happens repeatedly and affects a man’s ability to sustain an active sex life. Additionally, your doctor may conduct a digital rectal exam to check the prostate gland for signs of infection or cancer, both potential causes of ED. For example, sildenafil (Viagra) increases blood flow to the penis, which can provide short-term relief from ED. In some cases, treating the underlying cause may also resolve the problem. The specified medical conditions are: There is a good chance of success with treatment. Cue the voiceover about erectile dysfunction. If you have ED, you may think that testosterone treatment will help.

Alprostadil will usually produce an erection after five to 15 minutes. This holds the blood in the penis (and keeps it hard) for up to 30 minutes. Typically, the ED develops quite suddenly if it is a symptom of a mental health problem. Some men who have low zinc levels in their body have had success using zinc supplements to treat erection problems. The man cannot get or maintain an erection. Becker said he hopes the study will help more men realize the importance of developing strategies to keep their hearts healthy.

We have been very slow to be physical, however, and I wonder whether he’s worried about erectile dysfunction or something. The technician passes a handheld device lightly over your penis to measure blood flow. Vascular surgery. Keep reading to learn about treatment options. Penile prostheses. Diseases that affect nerves.

At one time, these factors were thought to be the major cause of impotence.

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Is penetration difficult 50%, 75% or 100% of time? Your health care provider can refer you to a specialist. During an injection test, also called intracavernosal injection, a health care professional will inject a medicine into your penis to cause an erection.

  • They are usually how providers start treatments; however, patients on nitrates for heart disease cannot use these.
  • Another study examined physical fitness and testosterone levels in 87 men with ED.
  • Erectile dysfunction can vary.
  • In general, at least two-thirds of men report having improved erections after taking one of these medicines.
  • But most of the time, ED does not mean that your partner is less interested.

Other Treatment

Limit alcohol. However, penile implants are generally not considered until other more conservative treatments have failed. One of the first things a young man can do to potentially improve or eliminate ED is make positive choices that will also have an impact on the rest of his life. Injury to the nerves going to the penis. Circulation, 99(1):

Side effects of vacuum pumps include pain or bruising, although these occur in less than a third of men. Usually, a man takes 1 tablet 30 minutes to 1 hour before he plans to have sex. Typically, you’d start to notice these symptoms within a couple weeks of starting the meds. You should sleep on your back to avoid accidentally tearing or disturbing the stamps. First things first:

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Testosterone therapy can be prescribed for men with low testosterone caused by an androgen deficiency but this is more for sexual interest than hardness. Common causes include: Repeat this exercise 10 to 20 times in a row, three times a day. It involves using a tiny needle to inject a small amount of medication directly into the penis each time the patient engages in intercourse. A 2020 literature review also concluded that pelvic floor exercises were effective at treating both ED and premature ejaculation. When you're not getting enough sleep, your testosterone drops.

If a person has a large meal, such as a steak dinner, the fatty food may absorb some of the medication and reduce its efficiency, except for Cialis, which stays in the body for a long time, Samadi said.

Psychological Causes

Neurological disorders (such as multiple sclerosis) : Not everyone can use these medicines. If your gums are always swollen, tender, or bloody, believe it or not, it can affect your erection.

In an effort to dispel some of the myths around ED, INSIDER consulted with doctors to answer some of the most common questions about the condition and what a person can do about it. These may include: Sometimes, medications taken to treat conditions other than ED can cause erectile problems. Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing periodically throughout the night. Blood loss is typically small. Psychological states : Counseling also may be used with medicine treatment or vacuum devices for erection problems that have psychological and physical causes.

A man who is experiencing impotence often feels embarrassed and guilty that he finds it difficult to talk about the situation, even with his partner. We offer a full range of non-invasive treatment options for erectile dysfunction. This is particularly important for people with heart disease or another underlying condition that could be aggravated by vigorous activity. However, they do not work in every case. Talk with your doctor about whether medicines for erection problems are safe for you if you: Discuss your symptoms and concerns with your doctor to help figure out the cause of your erectile dysfunction.


Your CBT therapist will be able to help you to adopt more realistic and helpful thoughts about these issues. Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation. But depression, performance anxiety, and relationship problems can cause ED or make it worse. Since erectile dysfunction is not only a condition but also a common symptom of many health problems, it is important to observe if the patient has other symptoms that may be related to it.

Why Couples Keep ED a Secret

The six most common erectile dysfunction symptoms are: What are the early signs of erectile dysfunction? For example, you may not be able to take certain tablets for ED if you have certain other medical conditions or take certain other medicines. Great for everyday life, a bit awkward in the morning.

What medications could cause erectile dysfunction (ED)? Serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, could be the origin of your erectile dysfunction. However, use of these drugs is a risk factor for ED.

Radiation therapy to the testicles can also cause impotence. Why is Erectile Dysfunction So Important? If erectile issues are happening frequently, have him see a urologist (who is like a gynecologist for men). What tests may be done? In fact, a 2020 study of 65 men between 24 and 60 years old found that sexual function increased significantly after a 12-week program of yoga sessions. Don’t wait to talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing. “Erectile dysfunction is often a hint of underlying heart disease,” Blaha says. What other substances or drugs may cause erectile dysfunction?

Penile implants are most often placed under anesthesia.

Frequent Symptoms

And if you’re not really in the mood, getting hard will be next to impossible. A vasectomy usually doesn't cause erection problems. Your ability to become aroused is a complicated process. ED can be an early warning sign of a more serious condition, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

© Verywell, 2020. Hormonal causes. What causes erectile dysfunction and what can you do about it?, these medicines can have serious side effects in people who have heart problems. As well as helping to improve your erectile dysfunction, these changes can also improve your general health and may help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease (conditions that affect your heart and blood vessels). Were there any problems or side effects to their use? Did a specific event, such as a major surgery or a divorce, occur at the same time?

If you are using a combination of drugs for high blood pressure, PDE-5 inhibitors could cause low blood pressure (hypotension). If you have erections during either type of test, it shows that you are physically able to have an erection and that the cause of your ED is more likely a psychological or emotional issue. Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED, is defined as the inability to produce or maintain an erectile firm enough for satisfactory sex. You are taught how to inject a medicine into the base of the penis. Both can result in problems with erections. In many cases, ED is rooted in psychological issues — especially in men under 40 years of age.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Erectile Dysfunction?

The conspiracy of silence that many couples maintain about impotence does nothing to help the problem. The fix could be as simple as losing some weight, changing how you eat or adjusting the dose of any medicines that you're on. Researchers studied data from nearly 2,000 racially diverse men, with an average age of 69, who had no history of heart disease or stroke. We need to talk about female sexual dysfunction, what medicines help with female sexual dysfunction? Organic nitrates are often used to treat angina, and butyl nitrate is a recreational drug that is more commonly known as 'poppers'. Shockwave therapy for ED is a new treatment and has been shown in studies to be as effective as medications such as Viagra and Cialis for many men," said Dr. "Do lab tests for:

When there is severe nerve or blood vessel damage, using a ring can help to keep blood in the penis. During this time, you can still touch each other, but not in the genital area (or a woman’s breasts). It should be used 5 to 30 minutes before you have sex. Speaking to a doctor about the types of medication available is strongly recommended. If you are concerned that you might be suffering, here are five signs to watch out for. Treatment for Erection Problems:

If you start to notice you're not getting "morning wood" as often as you used to, it could be a sign of weakening blood vessels in the penis. Making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol can also help make erection problems less likely. Sexual intimacy is a form of communication. Lifestyle changes : Implants allows a couple to be spontaneously intimate. Side effects of treatment can include urinary incontinence and impotence, which is why doctors often take a “wait and watch” approach when a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer and delay treatment until it’s warranted. If you start noticing that you’re waking up with an erection less often than usual, that could mean that those blood vessels aren’t working as well as they should—making it harder for blood to flow into your penis to become erect, Dr.

The Role of Hormones in Erectile Dysfunction

For example, a lack of a hormone called testosterone which is made in the testicles (testes). “Sex often feels different for your partner when you experience ED,” warns Dr. The doctor will want to know all medications you have taken during the past year, including all vitamins and other dietary supplements.

Tadalafil lasts for up to 36 hours and is more suitable if you require treatment for a longer period of time, for example, over a weekend. If you have been having ED for more than two months, you should see a doctor to find the cause. You should not take them if you take a nitrate medicine, such as nitroglycerin pills for heart problems. – For psychological causes of erectile dysfunction, psychotherapy can be beneficial. With proper training, 75 out of 100 men can get a working erection using a vacuum erection device. All of these things could affect how you view your relationship.

When you were younger, you'd most likely wake up all the time with an erection. Yes, they do exist and aren’t just in Austin Powers. Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes erectile dysfunction.

Injuries And Surgery

Thus, men with this condition are encouraged to consult a medical professional as there are medications and other types of treatment options that are available. For the next 3 months, all participants were given at-home exercises to perform. Discover five yoga poses that could help with ED. Stress can also be a major factor because it may interfere with your brain sending signals to allow extra blood to flow to the penis.

Reach out to us today and we'll get you the medicine you need to feel great again! He seems to not have much libido and avoids talk about sex. What causes erectile dysfunction? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it’s a great idea to talk to your doctor. Therefore, your doctor may conduct a variety of laboratory tests to determine the cause of your ED. It can occur at any age but becomes more common with increasing age. Questions relating to medical factors that could be contributing to ED: It is best to see your GP.


Other health problems, such as diabetes , high blood pressure , anxiety , and depression. These foods may help with erectile dysfunction, this is especially true for the erectile response. There are treatment options available to you. Drugs known as PDE type-5 inhibitors increase penile blood flow. A study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that almost half of all men in the study with diabetes also had ED. They can help determine whether your symptoms are caused by an underlying condition that requires treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911. These drugs not only affect and often times slow down the central nervous system, but can also cause serious damage to the blood vessels, leading to permanent ED. Pelvic injuries and complications of prostate or other surgeries that interfere with nerve impulses or blood flow to the penis.

Medications such as Viagra (sildenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) can help most people achieve erections strong enough for sexual activity. Stress, financial worries, disruptions to your routine, illness, or even relationship problems can decrease desire and erections. But, if this problem becomes frequent or lasts a long time, you should see your doctor.

“Eighty percent of men don’t even remember a specific time they had the injury,” says Dr. The most important thing for anyone dealing with sexual health problems is to talk to a qualified healthcare provider about treatment options. Atherosclerosis, the narrowing of blood vessels throughout parts of the body, is believed to be the most common cause of erectile dysfunction and a warning sign of a future heart attack or stroke.

  • It is also important to see a doctor is to diagnose or rule out any underlying causes of ED.
  • Where a man has relationship problems, seeking counseling may also be helpful.
  • Did they begin gradually or suddenly?
  • Do not take tadalafil (for example, Cialis) for at least 48 hours before the test.
  • Erectile dysfunction surgery In cases where medications aren’t effective, your doctor may recommend surgical treatment.
  • This is an excellent choice to improve uninterupted intimacy and makes relations more spontaneous.

Hormone Headlines

Injection test. Your emotions, brain, hormones, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles all play an intricate part in male arousal. Though many people are able to recognize erectile problems based on knowledge of their normal sexual performance, doctors can also use something called a Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) score to quantify ED. You’re never able to achieve an erection.

“The number one question I get when talking about erectile dysfunction is, ‘Is it common? Lifestyle factors, such as drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs, being overweight or smoking. By strengthening and training these muscles, you may be able to reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Aging is a large part of ED, but according to the AAFP and the Mayo Clinic, ED can also be caused by: Surgery, such as for prostate cancer.

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Diseases that affect blood vessels, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Psychological treatments Share on Pinterest Psychological treatments may help to reduce anxiety and increase self-confidence. “Male fertility problems can be a harbinger of other health issues such as prostate or testicular cancer, genetic issues or underlying physical problems,” says Dr. Rarely, some men need special tests to check nerve function, blood vessels, and blood flow. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is another form of counselling that may be useful if you have erectile dysfunction. You have no problem getting an erection—and keeping it up until you and your partner are both satisfied. Maybe you’ve seen blood in his urine, and he may report finding ejaculation painful sometimes.

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