Erection is the ability of the penis to straighten, increase its size, and get firm. Once a man is sexually aroused, the nerves in the penis release substances that increase blood flow into the chambers of the penis. The chambers in the penis are made up of spongy muscle tissues, known as the corpus cavernosum. When orgasm is reached, nerves stimulate the corpus cavernosum in the penis to contract and release the blood back to circulation and making the penis to collapse.
Whenever a man cannot attain and sustain a penile erection even he is sexually aroused, this condition is referred to as erectile dysfunction (ED) or also known as impotence. Penile dysfunction is brought about by stress, a sign of a health condition, or emotional problems. Impotence is a common problem in men and it is important to have an appointment with your doctor to discuss erectile deficiency causes. Penile dysfunction usually happens in older men but can also affect younger individuals.
There are various causes of erectile dysfunction and should be addressed immediately to avoid stress and relationship problems with your partner.
Signs & Symptoms
When an individual has erection problems, the inability to achieve penile erection does not happen once but there is a consistent manifestation of signs and symptoms. The signs and symptoms of penile dysfunction include having difficulty in achieving an erection, keeping the erection, and reduced sexual interest. When these signs and symptoms of penile erectile dysfunction happen for a month or so, you have to refer to the urologist. This might be an indication of a health problem and this can cause low self-esteem, relationship problems, and depression. Male impotence causes and treatment should be discussed with the doctor.
When to see a doctor
A person can consult the doctor if the signs and symptoms of penile erectile dysfunction have consistently appeared for 1-2 months. Also, if a person experiences premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, anorgasmia- unable to reach orgasm even after enough stimulation is done; and health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Causes of erectile dysfunction can be due to physical or health issues, emotional problems, or a combination of two. The common causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Diabetes: uncontrolled high levels of glucose in the blood can damage minute blood vessels and nerves in the penis. This is one of the main causes of erectile dysfunction.
- Vascular disease: cholesterol or any substances build up and block the blood vessels resulting in obstruction of blood flow in the penis leading to erection problems.
- Hyperlipidemia: lining in the blood vessels has hardened and becomes damaged because of cholesterol build-up that inhibits the proper functioning of the vessels.
- Hypertension: high pressure in the blood vessels cause minute tears in the walls. The tears will heal but the walls become thicker, narrowing the blood vessels thus limiting blood supply to the penis. Thus, resulting in penile erectile dysfunction.
- Obesity: causes various blood vessel problems causing men’s erectile problems.
- Smoking: contributes to blood vessel hardening and narrowing of arteries and veins.
- Age: as a man ages he is more prone to have penile dysfunction. Studies show that ages 40 to 70 years have increased cases of erection problems.
- Injuries or diseases related to the male reproductive system or nervous system
- Alcohol and drug-abuse: illegal drugs cause damage to blood vessels, and chronic alcoholism cause restriction of blood flow to the penis, alter testosterone production, and loss of sexual desire.
- Stress, depression, and anxiety: a person that worries or thinks too much lose his sex drive and erection. These are some of the common causes of erectile dysfunction.
- Relationship problems: emotional and mental stress can affect sexual desire and sexual function.
Treatments For Erectile Dysfunction
Since there are various common causes of erectile dysfunction, there is also a variety of erectile dysfunction treatment that will alleviate them.
Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors)
PDE5 are enzymes found in the blood vessel walls and cause narrowing of the vessels. PDE5 inhibitors make the vessels relax, allowing adequate blood supply to the penis. Nitrates should not be taken with PDE5 inhibitors. Regular nerve functioning should be present, so PDE5 inhibitors can work well as erectile dysfunction therapy. Some PDE5 inhibitors that are prescribed as erectile dysfunction treatment are: Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), Vardenafil (Levitra), and Avanafil (Stendra)
Low levels of testosterone in the blood can contribute to erectile deficiency causes. Testosterone replacement is another treatment that is usually given as the first line of erectile dysfunction therapy. It can also be given with PDE type 5 inhibitors.
Self-Injection with Alprostadil or Intracavernosal injection (ICI)
In this erectile dysfunction therapy, alprostadil is injected to the penis to achieve and maintain an erection for less than an hour. The first shot will be done by the urologist to teach you how to do it on your own. The needle used is very fine that you will not almost feel any pain. If the erection lasts for more than 2 hours, immediately go to the hospital. A prolonged erection (priapism) is very painful and lasting damage and permanent erection problems.
Alprostadil Intraurethral (IU) Therapy
In this erectile dysfunction treatment, alprostadil is inserted into the urethral meatus found in the glans penis. The erection starts about 10 minutes and lasts 30 to 60 minutes. The first alprostadil pill will be inserted at the clinic so your doctor can teach you how to do it properly.
Vacuum Erection Device (Penis Pumps)
Is a device that has a hollow tube and a powered pump (hand-operated or battery-operated). This erectile dysfunction therapy works by creating a vacuum that pulls blood into the penile tissues. When an erection is achieved, a tension ring is placed at the base of the penis to maintain an erection that lasts enough to have sexual intercourse. But the band restricts ejaculation.
Penile Prostheses (Penile Implant)
In this erectile dysfunction treatment, it involves the insertion of an implant to the penis. The implants make the penis hard to have normal and uninterrupted sexual intercourse. There are two types of penile implants: Semi-rigid Implant (Bendable) and Inflatable Implant.
The semi-rigid implant uses silicone rods that can be easily bent. Inflatable implants have fluid-filled cylinders placed inside the penis, and a pump placed inside the scrotum. Erection is achieved when the pump is activated as cylinders inflate inside the penis.
For men who are affected with penile dysfunction because of stress, depression or anxiety, they can go to a counselor or a psychologist to help them address their problem. Often times, their partner is included in counseling.
Taking Supplements or Alternative Medicine
If you opt to use supplements as an erectile dysfunction therapy, you have to inform your physician because there might be antagonistic effects when taking supplements with your current medication that can cause health problems.
Risk Factors And Complications
To avoid penile dysfunction problems, you have to know the erectile deficiency causes and risk factors involved so you can avoid having this problem.
Risk factors in men’s erectile problems are the following:
- Drug and alcohol use
- Psychological problems
- Medications are taken
- Blood vessel injuries
- Medical treatments you are currently into
- Medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, vascular disease
Men’s erectile problems affect the well-being of a person. A person with erection problems can result in complications such as:
- Disappointing sex life
- Low self-confidence
- Stress, anxiety, depression
- Problems with your partner
- Unable to impregnate your partner
It is very important to identify common causes of erectile dysfunction and how it can be prevented. There are ways on how to prevent causes of erectile dysfunction, here are some of them:
- If you have current health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, you must take your medications and follow your doctor’s advice to manage it.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
- Do not use illegal drugs.
- Be healthy, eat a balanced diet, and trim down excess weight.
- Have an active lifestyle.
- Avoid stress.
- Seek help to counselor or psychologist if you have anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
Studies show that in most cases of erectile dysfunction are reversible. It is crucial to work with your doctor in order to identify male impotent causes and treatment. In cases that men’s erectile problems cannot be cured, what is important is that the penile dysfunction signs and symptoms can be minimized or alleviated. Getting back the ability to have an erection depends on the male impotence causes and treatment used.
There are two types of penile erectile dysfunction:
- Primary Erectile Dysfunction: A rare type of erection problem wherein an individual has never had achieved and sustained an erection.
- Secondary Erectile Dysfunction: The most common type of penile erectile dysfunction, in which an individual has experienced regular penile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability of men to achieve and sustain an erection.
Erectile deficiency causes include diabetes, vascular disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity, smoking, age, injuries or diseases related to the male reproductive system or nervous system, alcohol and drug abuse, stress, depression, and anxiety, and relationship problems.
The signs and symptoms of men’s erectile dysfunction include having difficulty in achieving an erection, keeping the erection, and reduced sexual interest.
Some proven solutions for erectile dysfunction treatment are medications such as Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, Stendra and Staxyn.
Effective and proven erectile dysfunction treatment include taking phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors), undergoing testosterone therapy, self-Injection with alprostadil or intracavernosal injection (ICI), alprostadil Intraurethral (IU) therapy, using vacuum erection device (penis pumps), undergoing penile prostheses (penile implant) surgery, and psychological counseling.
Low blood pressure causes erectile dysfunction due to insufficient blood going into the penis making it impossible to erect.
Circumcision does not cause penile dysfunction. A study was done and shown that circumcision is not linked to the causes of erectile dysfunction. Circumcised men have more sensitivity in their penis and reach orgasm faster.
Yes, when an individual thinks and worries too much it hinders sexual drive and erection. This is one of the common causes of erectile dysfunction.
A man can have difficulty in having an erection due to a variety of causes of erectile function: health conditions that can affect blood supply and blood vessels of the penis, smoking, age, injuries or diseases affecting the spine and pelvic area, chronic alcoholism, illegal drug use, psychological and mental health problems.
Yes, smoking weed or marijuana can affect sexual health such as erection problems.
You can get erectile dysfunction treatment from your doctor or your urologist.
Doctors that diagnose and treat male health issues are called urologists. Urologists are experts in sexual and reproductive health care of men such as urinary problems and male impotence cause and treatments.
Yes, low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy (Li-ESWT) also known as shockwave therapy is effective in erectile dysfunction therapy. The low-intensity sound waves eradicate plaques formed in the blood vessels and stimulate the formation of blood vessels in the penis. However, urologists do not recommend erectile dysfunction therapy that is not approved by the FDA. There are no studies yet to support its effectiveness and its safety for long term use.
Yes, there is a cure for male impotence. In most cases, using erectile dysfunction treatment can reverse penile dysfunction. But if penile erectile dysfunction cannot be cured, the important thing is that the signs and symptoms will be diminished or treated.
Risk and complications in erectile dysfunction therapy involved in injections and suppositories are priapism (prolonged painful erection lasting 2 hours or so), bleeding, and scarring; and in surgery are adverse reactions from anesthesia and other medications given to the patient, bleeding, and infection.