Having erection problems from time to time isn't normally a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is a reoccurring issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems.
Erectile dysfunction symptoms might include persistent:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Reduced sexual desire
In common cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by something physical. Common causes include:
- Heart disease
- Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
- Parkinson's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Peyronie's disease, the development of scar tissue inside the penis
- Certain prescription medications
- Tobacco use
- Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
- Sleep disorders
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
The brain plays an important role in triggering the series of physical events that lead to an erection, starting with the feelings of sexual excitement. A number of problems can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:
- Depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions
- Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns
When seeking treatment the first thing your doctor will do is make sure you're getting the right treatment for any health condition that could be related to or worsening your erectile dysfunction.
Oral medications are a successful erectile dysfunction treatment for most men. They include:
- Sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra)
- Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis)
- Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
- Avanafil (Stendra)
All four of these medications are used to enhance the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical your body produces that relaxes muscles in the penis. This increases blood flow and allows you to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation.
Other medications you can take include;
Penis pumps, surgery and implants.
- Alprostadil self-injections
- Alprostadil urethral suppository
- Testosterone replacement.
If you decide medications aren’t for you, or you have tried medications and you find they don’t work for you, the following methods may help your condition;
- Penis pump. Which is a hallow tube that is placed over your penis, the pump is used to suck the air out of the tube. When this is done it pulls blood into your penis.
- Penile implants. This procedure involves surgically placing two devices on both sides of your penis. This device consists of semirigid or inflatable rods. The inflatable rods let you control how long you have erections, while the semirigid rods make your penis firm, yet flexible.
- Blood vessel surgery. Very rarely, will obstructed blood vessels cause erectile dysfunction. In a situation like this surgical repairs are needed. This process includes vascular stenting, or a bypass procedure.