For men, having a problem with their erection, whatever it may be, is seen as a sign of being less of a man.
A man who is experiencing erection problems may feel embarrassed and guilty, so much so that he finds it difficult to talk about the situation, even with his partner. He may even find himself manipulating events so that he avoids situations in which sexual intercourse may arise as being a possibility.
During sexual arousal in a man, a number of systems of the body all come into play at the same time; hormones, muscles, nerves and blood vessels all work together in order to facilitate an erection.
Firstly, nerve signals are sent from the brain to the penis stimulating muscles to relax. Blood can then flow freely into the tissues of the penis allowing them to become engorged and so become erect, whilst at the same time, closing off the blood vessels which will allow the blood to flow out from the penis so that the erection can be maintained. When a sexual climax has been reached, these blood vessels will be allowed to open up again allowing the blood to flow out and the erection to subside.
If there is a malfunction in any of these systems, then problems may arise with the erection and for most men, this will happen at some time in their lives and provided these issues are no more than 20% of the time then it is unlikely to be an issue. If a problem starts occurring more than 50% of the time, then there may be a health problem that needs to be addressed.
When a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection long enough to have satisfactory sexual intercourse then it is known as:
There are a wide variety of issues that can be responsible for causing erection problems. Some are physical but there are also emotional issues that may be responsible.
Physical causes of erection problems include the following:
Emotional issues can affect men of any age and their ability to have a healthy erection. Issues that may prevent a man from becoming aroused include:
It may be worth noting at this stage that erection problems are not solely suffered by older men as may be the widely held belief. The problem may be far more common in young men than was previously realised and is thought to be seen by doctors less often as younger men are embarrassed by the issue, seeing it as an affront to their masculinity.
However, it is believed that physical problems are less likely to cause erection problems in younger men and it may have more to do with lifestyle and mental health. It has been noted that younger men are more likely to abuse tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs than their older counterparts.
If you are suffering from erection problems and it is beginning to have a significant impact on your life it is worth visiting the doctor because much can be done.
The doctor will need to carry out tests in order to diagnose if you have a problem and what is the likely cause. Investigations that they may want to carry out initially will include a physical examination, blood tests and taking a full medical history from you including your sexual history.
When a doctor has determined that you are suffering from erectile dysfunction they will be able to diagnose the treatment which is most appropriate in your particular case.
It is worth mentioning at this point that erection problems can be caused by underlying conditions that can be serious such as diabetes and heart disease. Erectile problems can be seen as an early warning system for more serious issues and so it is important that you do not ignore the problem, thinking it will go away.
There are a number of different treatment options now available in respect of treating erection problems.
Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors are the first-line therapy for erectile dysfunction. They include sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio), Tadalafil (Cialis, Adcirca), Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn) and Avanafil (Stendra). These drugs work by facilitating an erection by allowing blood to flow into the penis in order to achieve an erection. However, if a man is not sexually aroused they do not work which is contrary to popular belief!
There are a number of side effects which are associated with this class of drugs and they include:
Penile injections may sound a little barbaric but they can have fewer side effects and are as effective as oral therapy. The side effects which may occur include:
Alprostadil suppositories or cream may be an option. The suppository is placed in the tip of the penis and the cream is applied to the same area. The benefit of alprostadil as a treatment is that unless it is given via injection, it is non-invasive.
If you have low levels of testosterone and this is the cause of your erectile dysfunction, testosterone replacement therapy can be very effective in treating the problem.
A penis pump is a tube that is placed over the penis; the air is then pumped out of the tube which creates a vacuum which in turn encourages blood to flow around the penis. A ring is placed around the base of the penis to stop the blood from draining away and so the erection can be maintained.
The disadvantage of this is that spontaneous sexual intercourse is not going to be very spontaneous!
There are few surgical procedures which may be options to consider if all else fails:
If your erection problems stem from an emotional or psychological cause, sexual counselling, relationships counselling or other specific types of counselling such as cognitive behaviour counselling may be considered. They can be useful in treating issues such as:
Problems with getting or achieving an erection can have a profound effect on your life and relationship and can lead to:
Lifestyle can play a major part when it comes to erection problems and there are things you can change which will help alleviate matters. They include:
Erectile dysfunction was a problem that was never spoken about and suffered by many men. In the last couple of decades, treatment for the problem has come a very long way and research continues so that better and safer treatments can be found.
Find out more about the treatments mentioned in this article below:
Effective for up to 4 hours
For daily or intermittent use
Effective for up to 5 hours
Works in 15-30 minutes
Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Vardenafil
Over the counter treatment
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