Have you ever ignored a health problem, hoping it would go away? Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t do that with Erectile Dysfunction.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
ED is when it is difficult to get or maintain an erection that is firm enough for sex. During sexual arousal, nerves release chemicals that increase blood flow in the penis. Blood flows into two spongey muscle tissue chambers in the penis. The spongey tissue relaxes in order to trap the blood. The blood pressure is what makes the penis erect enough for sex.
When a man has an orgasm, a second set of nerve signals reach the penis and cause the muscular tissues in the penis to contract and blood is released back into a man’s circulation and the erection comes down. When you are not sexually aroused, the penis is soft and limp. Men may notice that the size of the penis varies with warmth, cold, or worry; this is normal and reflects the balance of blood coming into and leaving the penis.
Erectile dysfunction is basically when blood pressure is not high enough in the penis. There are several potential causes for this. It could be indicating a larger health issue, or it may be a simple fix. If you are struggling to get or maintain an erection, you should take the ED self-test. This self-test can help you identify your erectile dysfunction has been affecting your quality of life.
What Your Erectile Dysfunction May Be Telling You
Erectile dysfunction happens when one of these three things are going on:
- Blood flow in the penis is restricted, or nerves are harmed
- Stress or emotional reasons
- As an early sign of a more serious disease, like atherosclerosis, heart disease, high blood pressure or high blood sugar from Diabetes
If your erectile dysfunction is an indication of a more serious health condition, you should be seeing a physician. It is best to visit with a physician first to eliminate those options. Jumping directly to treatment or medication for erectile dysfunction when it is indicating the early stages of heart disease can be dangerous to your health. Overall, good heart health leads to good sexual health.
However, your erectile dysfunction may be an indicator of poor mental health. This is also something you can discuss with your physician. They may refer you to a counselor or psychiatrist if the two of you conclude that that is a probable cause. Taking good care of your physical health can support good mental health, but sometimes a mental health professional’s help is necessary. Stress is a common cause of erectile dysfunction. If there is stress in the relationship or at work that can cause erectile dysfunction.
If your erectile dysfunction is not indicating that there is something wrong with the rest of the body, it may be indicating nerve damage in the penis itself. If that is the case, focused shockwave therapy is one of the best ways to treat erectile dysfunction. It is non-invasive, pain-free, and has shown to have long-term positive effects.
Focused shockwave therapy improves blood flow throughout the entire penis to restore natural erectile function. It removes micro-plaques within the blood vessel walls. Shockwave therapy creates new blood vessels to erectile tissues and breaks down scar tissue within the penis and erectile tissue. All of these things improve blood flow in the penis, reducing or eliminating erectile dysfunction.
What a Physician Will Do
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, your first consultation should be with a primary care doctor. A primary care doctor will run a number of tests to determine the cause of the erectile dysfunction and find any underlying health concerns. They will use the following means to investigate the source.
- Physical exam. This might include careful examination of your penis and testicles and checking your nerves for sensation.
- Blood tests. A sample of your blood might be sent to a lab to check for signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone levels, and other health conditions.
- Urine tests (urinalysis). Like blood tests, urine tests are used to look for signs of diabetes and other underlying health conditions.
- Ultrasound. This test is usually performed by a specialist in an office. It involves using a wand-like device (transducer) held over the blood vessels that supply the penis. It creates a video image to let your doctor see if you have blood flow problems. This test is sometimes done in combination with an injection of medications into the penis to stimulate blood flow and produce an erection.
- Psychological exam. Your doctor might ask questions to screen for depression and other possible psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.
Your steps forward will be determined by what the doctor determines the cause of your erectile dysfunction to be. It may even be a combination of factors that will need to be addressed individually.
Negative Effects of Erectile Dysfunction
Because erectile dysfunction can be an indication of a problem in the cardiovascular system, those with erectile dysfunction are at higher risk of heart attack, stroke, or circulatory problems in the legs.
Erectile dysfunction can also directly cause depression, low self-esteem, and distress in sexual relationships. Erectile dysfunction can also make it so that you cannot get your partner pregnant or have anxiety. If erectile dysfunction is directly impacting your quality of life, it should be treated.
Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction
Some lifestyles and health conditions put you at greater risk for erectile dysfunction. If you have or do one or more of the following, you can be affecting your sexual health. Taking care of your overall physical health positively impacts your ability to have and keep an erection.
- Being over age 50
- Having high blood sugar (Diabetes)
- Having high blood pressure
- Having cardiovascular disease
- Having high cholesterol
- Using drugs or drinking too much alcohol
- Being obese
- Lacking exercise
As you age, erectile dysfunction becomes more common. However, it is possible to stay sexually active into your 80s. If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, it is best to address it rather than ignore it because you are aging. It may be an indicator of a serious health problem.
ED may also come as a side effect from certain medications. Make sure that you discuss the possible side effects of any medications you are using with your primary care doctor. If the medications are causing you erectile dysfunction, you may want to change to a different drug. Primary care doctors can offer you different options for whatever health problem you are treating. Most drugs have alternatives that may work better for you. However, that is not always an option.
You may experience erectile dysfunction if there is conflict in your relationship. Emotional stress can directly impact your ability to have sex. If you are experiencing relationship stress, you may want to attend couples counseling. Working through relationship conflict can reduce stress and increase sexual pleasure. Talk to your partner and your doctor about attending couples counseling if you believe that this may be a cause of your erectile dysfunction. Some couples counselors are specialized in sexual issues and can help you and your partner to have more pleasurable sex in general.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Help
Taking care of your health, in general, affects your sexual health. Overall, what is healthy for the heart is healthy for sex. Regular exercise, even as simple as walking, can improve sexual health and reduce erectile dysfunction. Quit smoking. If you are having trouble quitting, confer with your doctor for help.
If you are overweight, it can cause—or worsen—erectile dysfunction. Work with your doctor to lose extra weight. Get treatment for alcohol or drug problems. Drinking too much or taking certain illegal drugs can worsen erectile dysfunction directly or by causing long-term health problems.
Taking good care of yourself can give you more energy and confidence for sex, also. The effects can be psychological as well as physical. Make a few small lifestyle changes and see if they can help you have a better experience during sex. Communicate with your partner for support.
How Genesys Men’s Health Can Help
Genesys Men’s Health offers the most comprehensive treatment for erectile dysfunction. We use focused shockwave therapy and testosterone therapy among other proven treatments to address erectile dysfunction. We take cases that other people have given up on. Our treatment is comprehensive and effective.
90% of our patients see success and the majority of those treated continue to see success a year after treatment. Our treatments are not just short-term fixes but help the penis heal itself so that the results last. We offer topical or injection-based testosterone therapy depending upon your preference.
If you are in Sandy, Utah, come visit our office in Murray. We offer free consultations to see if we can help you improve your quality of life. Contact us to schedule your first visit. Or call us at (801)-671-7456.