Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotency, is a condition in which a person is unable to have or maintain an erection during sexual activity. If someone is unable to have or maintain an erection during several sexual encounters, then the condition will be considered as ED.
According to a study, by the age of 40, around 40% of men suffer from ED. This percentage increases proportionally with age and reaches to around 70% by the age of 70. Approximately, 18 million U.S males are affected by ED and these figures are continuously increasing.
Men, who smoke a pack of cigarette each day have 50% higher chances of developing ED. Erectile dysfunction can have psychological consequences as well. A sufferer may develop low self-esteem, depression and anxiety that may further worsen the condition. He may also feel embarrassing to discuss his situation with others. For this reason, only 33% of men with ED seek medical advice.
However, regardless of the underlying cause, almost all cases of ED are treatable. But, before discussing treatment methods in detail, let’s learn about its symptoms and possible causes.
Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
Some common symptoms of erectile dysfunction are:
- Difficulty in getting an erection
- Reduced interest in sex
- Trouble maintaining an erection for a long duration
- Premature ejaculation
- Delayed ejaculation
- Anorgasmia, inability to achieve orgasm after ample stimulation
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Being sexually aroused involves a variety of factors like hormones, brain, nerves, emotions, muscles and the vascular system. No doubt, it is a complicated process and disbalance in any one or more of the above factors can result in Erectile dysfunction (ED). It could be caused by an injury in the groin region. The injury may hamper the functionality of the reproductive organs or might increase the anxiety level in a person during sexual activity.
These include habit-related factors, and other physical conditions like:
- High cholesterol
- Substance abuse
- Venous leak
- Radiation therapy
There may be a case that a person is physically fit to indulge in sex, yet he experiences ED. This may be because of psychological issues like:
- Severe anxiety
- Fear of being intimate
Sometimes, physical conditions like obesity and injury in the groin area can lead to psychological issues like anxiety to maintain the erection during sexual intercourse. High anxiety levels may further aggravate the condition.
There are certain medications that can lead to erectile dysfunction. If this is a case with you, you must consider visiting a doctor. Certain medications that may lead to ED are:
- Drugs acting on central nervous system (CNS)
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Heart medications
- Opioid painkillers
- Prostrate treatment drugs
- Chemotherapeutic agents
- Peptic ulcer medications
- Anticholinergic drugs
In case of an accident, in which pelvic, spinal cord and/or bladder of a person gets hurt, he might develop erectile dysfunction.
There are various chronic diseases that can cause erectile dysfunction. Some of which are:
- Heart diseases
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- High blood pressure
- Hormonal disorders like hypo- and hyper-thyroidism and testosterone deficiency
- Peyronie’s Disease
ED can arise due to various surgeries done to treat prostate and bladder cancer. This is due to the damage caused to associated nerves and tissues during the surgery. In this case, ED can be permanent or temporary.
How to Cure Erectile Dysfunction
There are multiple ways to cure erectile dysfunction. Depending upon the cause and severity, treatment may vary from some basic home remedies to surgical treatment. Lets discuss about all the available treatments:
A variety of food items are available that you can incorporate in your diet:
- Fresh fruits
- Pink rock salt
- Apple cider vinegar
Natural Ways to Cure Erectile Dysfunction:
Some natural ways to cure
Herbal Supplements: Following are some of the herbal supplements that can be used to treat erectile dysfunction
- Horny goat weed
- Niacin supplements
- Cayenne pepper
- Cayenne ginger
- Liquid zinc supplements
- Niacin supplements
Exercise: Aerobic exercises improves the metabolism of the body and can help improve the condition of ED. However, if you are suffering from a heart or chronic disease, their benefits may be limited.
Psychological Counseling: If the underlying reason of ED is anxiety, stress or depression, nothing can work better than a psychological counseling.
Yoga: Yoga has been known to treat erectile dysfunction from a long time. Some of the Yoga asanas to cure ED are:
- Ardha Ustrasana
- Ardha Chandrasana
In addition to all these, one should avoid smoking and drinking as these may hamper the functioning of penis.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications to Treat Erectile Dysfunction:
If natural ways are not working, you can look forward to the following over-the-counter (OTC) medications:
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA): It is a supplement used to treat ED, it also has antiaging and aphrodisiac properties.
- Prelox: It is a combination of two drugs, which improves ED by increasing the level of nitric oxide, which eventually, enhances the blood flow to the penis.
Medications and Treatments:
In severe cases, you may consider proper medical treatment that may include medication and in some cases, surgical procedures; depending on the type and severity of ED. Some of the treatment methods are as follows:
Oral Medications: Oral medications causes an erection by increasing the blood flow to the penis. Men with normal erection do not need this medication as these are not aphrodisiacs, i.e., do not increase sexual excitement. Some commonly prescribed oral medications are:
- Sildenafil (Viagra)
Penis Pumps: These are hollow tubes that help in having the erection. They may be self-powered or battery powered. The tube is placed over the penis and the pump is then used to suck the air from inside the tube. This makes a vacuum and blood rushes into the penis, which causes an erection. After this, a tension ring is held around the penis to hold the blood and maintain the erection.
Penile Implants: This is a surgical process in which, implants of malleable or inflated rods are placed on both the sides of the penis. These rods help in controlling the erection.
Injections and Suppositories: Alprostadil self-injection and Alprostadil urethral suppository can be used to have an erection. The erection lasts for around 60 minutes. Testosterone replacement therapy can be recommended if you have low levels of testosterones.