Erectile Dysfunction key facts

What is the truth about ED?


Erectile dysfunction is a subject that was seldom discussed ‘in nice company’ and so became shrouded in myths and mystery.  Whilst the internet has made it much easier to access any information you want it is also peppered with ‘untruths’ and misleading myths of its own.

We attempt here to give you a frank and truthful overview of what can be a very embarrassing subject for some men.

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What is erectile dysfunction?

To be completely clear, erectile dysfunction can be defined as ‘the ability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse’.  Sometimes it is referred to as impotence. It is considered to be a ‘benign’ disease but in actual fact, it can cause the sufferer to experience depression and anxiety along with feelings of low self-esteem.  The effects can also impact on relationships.

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition which affects as many as 50% of men between 40 and 70 years of age at some point, however, please note that ED can affect younger men, in some cases as young as 18.


What causes erectile dysfunction?

ED can have a range of physical and emotional causes.

Physical causes include:

  • Narrowing of the blood vessels to the penis which may be associated with hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hypertension itself may be a cause
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal problems
  • Surgery
  • Injury

Psychological causes can include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Relationship issues

In general, if you find that you cannot achieve an erection at any time there is likely to be a physical cause to the ED

If an erection can be achieved in some situations it is likely that the cause is psychological.


Do tight jeans and underwear lead to ED?

Compression and heat around the testicle area can lead to a reduction in sperm count and so could, long term, affect fertility but tight jeans and underwear are unlikely to cause ED in the short term.


Can cycling cause ED?

It is true that sometimes excessive cycling can cause ED as a result of putting sustained pressure on the nerves at the base of the penis.  It is worth investing in a good saddle which suits your style of riding.


Does ED mean that I am no longer attracted to my partner?

This may, in some cases, be the case as sexual attraction tends to be required to achieve and maintain an erection.  However, we must remember that as there are many possible causes of ED such as high blood pressure and diabetes it would be best to have a chat with your GP before jumping to conclusions!


Can masturbation cause ED?

This may very much depend on your masturbation habits!  If you tend to masturbate very frequently it may be that exhaustion would lead to episodes of ED!  However, if the masturbation occurs once or twice a day it is unlikely to have any adverse effects on your ability to achieve an erection.


Tiredness can tiredness cause ED?

Tiredness impacts our ability and competency in just about everything and our ability to achieve our full potential is greatly impaired.  This goes for the ability to achieve and maintain an erection as well as having an effect on the level of pleasure we experience


At what stage of life can we expect to experience ED?

As we get older it becomes more likely that we will experience ED although it is not a foregone conclusion!  Also, as we get older we are more likely to experience health problems which in turn can affect our ability to achieve and maintain an erection; for example, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and high levels of cholesterol.

Be aware however that men as young as 18years old have been known to experience this problem!


Is ED a permanent condition?

This is very much determined by its cause as well as the age and health of the sufferer. If the cause is stress and anxiety, the ED may be short-lived whereas if the cause is a physical injury it is more likely to be permanent.

It is important to seek advice in order that the cause can be ascertained and so possible treatments can be considered.


Is there a cure for ED?

Again, this very much depends on its cause, there are a variety of treatments for both psychological and physical causes but not one single treatment that will suit or cure everybody.

Again it is important to seek advice from a health professional.

Finally, we must consider the myths and facts about ED medications.  These drugs have been available for some considerable time now and as a result, there are plenty of myths out there!


Can  ED drugs affect fertility?

A study by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has reported the following:-

“Sildenafil had no statistically significant effect on sperm motility, count or density; the percentage of abnormal sperm forms; or the percentage of living sperm”

Hopefully, this can dispel previous myths from the press about ED drugs reducing levels of motility


Can I take ED drugs if I have diabetes?

Diabetes can affect and contribute to ED but fortunately for diabetes patients, this does not preclude them from taking medication for it


Can I take ED drugs if I have a heart condition?

Sadly for sufferers with heart conditions who have had a heart attack or stroke or are taking drugs for angina, it is unlikely that you will be prescribed ED medication.  The NHS says:-

 “Doctors are currently told not to use Cialis in patients with heart failure and other conditions, including low blood pressure, heart attack, recent stroke, heart rhythm irregularities, unstable angina and uncontrolled high blood pressure, because it could be dangerous.”


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