What’s to know about erectile dysfunction?

Men are considered to have erectile dysfunction if they regularly have problems with sending or maintaining enough erections to have sex, or if they interfere with other sexual activities.

Most men sometimes find it difficult to get a penis or to stand up. However, erectile dysfunction (ED) is considered a concern only if satisfactory sex work is impossible permanently for some time.

Since discovering that sildenafil, or Viagra, affects erection of the penis, most people have realized that erectile dysfunction is a curable medical condition.

Men who have a problem with sexual performance do not want to talk to their doctor because seeing it can be an embarrassing problem.

However, ED is now well understood and has several treatments available.

This MNT Knowledge Center article provides useful information for people experiencing this problem or their loved ones.

Some facts about erectile dysfunction:

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as a constant difficulty in getting and maintaining an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.

The causes are usually medical, but they can also be psychological.

Organic causes are usually the result of a underlying medical condition that affects the blood vessels or nerves that supply the penis.

Many prescription drugs, recreational drugs, alcohol and smoking can cause erectile dysfunction.

The reasons

Normal erectile function may be affected by problems with any of the following systems:

  • blood circulation
  • innovation
  • hormones
  • Physical reasons
  • a person with an erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can cause shame.

It is always worth consulting a doctor about persistent erection problems as it can be caused by a serious illness.

Whether the cause is simple or serious, a proper diagnosis can help resolve any underlying medical problem and resolve sexual difficulties.

The following list summarizes many of the most common physical or organic causes of erectile dysfunction:

  • heart disease and blood vessel narrowing
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • obesity and metabolic syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • hormonal disorders that include thyroid disorders and testosterone deficiency
  • structural or anatomical disorder of the penis, such as Peyronie’s disease
  • smoking, alcoholism and drug addiction, including cocaine use
  • treatments for prostate disease
  • surgical complications
  • lesions in the pelvic region or spinal cord
  • radiotherapy in the pelvic region

Atherosclerosis is a common cause of problems with blood circulation. Atherosclerosis causes narrowing or blockage of the arteries in the penis, preventing the necessary blood flow to the penis to get an erection.

Many prescription medications can also cause erectile dysfunction, including the following. Anyone taking prescription drugs should consult their physician before stopping or changing the medication:

  • medications to control high blood pressure
  • heart drugs such as digoxin
  • some diuretics
  • drugs that affect the central nervous system, including certain sleeping pills and amphetamines
  • anxiety treatments
  • antidepressants, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants
  • opioid painkillers
  • some cancer drugs, including chemotherapeutic agents
  • prostate treatment drugs
  • anticholinergics
  • hormone drugs
  • the peptic ulcer medication cimetidine

Physical causes account for 90 percent of ED cases, with psychological causes much less common.

Psychological causes :

In rare cases, a man may have always had erectile dysfunction and never had an erection. This is called primary ED, and the cause is almost always psychological if there is no obvious anatomical deformity or physiological problem. These psychological factors may include:

  • guilt
  • fear of privacy
  • depression
  • severe anxiety

Most cases of ED are “secondary”. This means that erectile function is normal, but it becomes problematic. The reasons for a new and persistent problem are usually physical.

It is rare for psychological factors to cause or contribute to erectile dysfunction, with factors ranging from treatable mental illnesses to everyday emotional states that most people experience at some point in time.

It is important to note that there can be overlap between medical and psychosocial causes. For example, if a man is obese, changes in blood flow can affect his ability to maintain an erection, which is a physical cause. However, he may also have low self-esteem, which can impact erectile function and is a psychosocial cause.

Does riding a bicycle cause ED?

Questions remain about the effects on men’s health of riding a bicycle.

Some research has raised concerns that men who work long hours on a regular basis have an increased risk of erectile dysfunction, in addition to other men’s health problems, such as infertility and prostate cancer.

The latest study of this study found that there was no association between cycling and erectile dysfunction, but found a link between the longest cycling hours and the risk of cancer. prostate.

  • Prostate Disease and ED
  • Prostate cancer does not cause erectile dysfunction.

However, prostate cancer removal surgery and radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer can cause erectile dysfunction.

Treating mild, non-cancerous prostate disease can also cause the disease.

How does age affect the incidence of ED?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, up to 30 million American men are affected by erectile dysfunction. The prevalence of ED increases with age. Erectile dysfunction affects:

  • 12% of men under 60 years
  • 22 percent of men in their sixties
  • 30 percent of men 70 and older

Although the risk of erectile dysfunction increases with age, erectile dysfunction is not inevitable as you get older. It may be more difficult to get an erection as you get older, but that does not necessarily mean that you develop ED. In general, the healthier you are, the better your sexual function.

Read more: Is erectile dysfunction an inevitable result of aging?

ED can also occur among younger men. A 2013 study found that one in four men seeking their first treatment for erectile dysfunction is under the age of 40. The researchers found a stronger correlation between smoking and illicit drug use and erectile dysfunction in men under 40 than in older men. This suggests that lifestyle choices may be the major contributing factor to erectile dysfunction in younger men.

An analysis of research trusted sources on ED in men under 40 found that smoking was a factor for ED among 41 percent of men under the age of 40. Diabetes was the second most common risk factor and was associated with ED in 27% of men under the age of 40.


The good news is that there are many treatments for erectile dysfunction and most men will find a solution that works for them. Treatments include:

Pharmacological treatments:

Men can take a group of drugs called PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase-5) inhibitors.

Most of these pills are taken 30 to 60 minutes before intercourse; The best known is Sildenafil’s blue pill (Viagra). Other options are:

  • Vardanafil (Levitra)
  • Tadalafil (taken as a once-daily pill called Cialis)
  • avanafil (Stendra)

PDE-5 inhibitors are available only by prescription. Your doctor will check for heart problems and ask for other medications taken before you prescribe.

Side effects associated with PDE-5 inhibitors include:

  • blush
  • visual abnormalities
  • hearing loss
  • digestion
  • headache

Less commonly used medication options include prostaglandin E1, which is administered topically when injected into the penis or through the urethral opening.

However, most men prefer the pill, so these topical drugs tend to be prescribed for men who cannot take oral therapy.

Vacuum devices:

Vacuum erection devices are a mechanical erection tool for men who do not want or cannot use drugs or find that they do not work.

The penis becomes rigid with a vacuum pump sealed around it to draw blood. This prevents him from leaving the penis with the aid of an accompanying tape.

The lack of spontaneity with the use of vacuum devices means that many men consider other treatments for erectile dysfunction.

Surgical treatments :

There are several options for surgical treatment:

Penis implants: they are the last option reserved for men who have failed treatment with medications and other non-invasive options.

Vascular Surgery: Another surgical option for some men is vascular surgery, which attempts to correct certain causes of ED in the blood vessels.

Surgery is a last resort and will only be used in the most extreme cases. Payment times vary, but success rates are high.

Do dietary supplements and alternative treatments work?

The short answer is no. ”

There are no guidelines for doctors to follow, nor any established source of evidence to support the use of dietary supplements such as herbal pills.

Despite the lack of evidence in favor of non-prescription erectile dysfunction alternatives, the FDA has warned of the hidden risks of “treatments” sold online.

Symptoms :

Men can’t always get an erection successfully, and if that happens rarely, it’s not considered a medical problem.

However, erectile dysfunction is not just about the total inability to get a proper penis. Symptoms may include struggling to maintain an erection long enough to end sexual intercourse or inability to ejaculate.

Often there are emotional symptoms, such as shame, shame, anxiety and a diminished interest in sex.

A man is thought to have ED when these symptoms occur regularly.

Exercises :

There are exercises a person can do to reduce the effects of erectile dysfunction.

The best way to treat erectile dysfunction without medication is by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises.

They are often associated with women who want to strengthen their pelvic area during pregnancy but can be effective for men seeking to restore full penile function.

First, find your pelvic floor muscles. You can do this by stopping in the middle of the stream two or three times the next time you urinate. The muscles you may feel working through during this process are the pelvic floor muscles and will be the focus of Kegel exercises.

Kegel exercise involves tightening and maintaining these muscles for 5 seconds and then relaxing them. Try doing 10 to 20 repetitions each day. This may not be possible when you start practicing for the first time. However, they should become lighter over time.

You should be able to see improvement after 6 weeks.

Make sure you breathe naturally during this process and avoid pressing as if you have to urinate. Instead, jiggle the muscles in motion for compression.

Aerobic exercise, such as running or even walking, can also improve blood circulation and help improve erectile dysfunction in men with circulatory problems.


The many potential causes of erectile dysfunction mean that the doctor usually asks a lot of questions and will organize blood tests. Such tests can, among others, detect heart problems, diabetes and low testosterone levels. The doctor will also perform a physical examination, including genitalia.

Before considering a diagnosis that requires treatment, your doctor will look for symptoms that have persisted for at least 3 months.

Once the medical history has been established, the doctor will conduct an additional investigation. A simple test, called a “stamp test”, can be useful in determining whether the cause is physical, not psychological.

Men usually have 3 to 5 erections per night. This test checks overnight erections to see if the stamps applied around the penis before bed are gone at night. Other night erection tests include the Poten test and the Snap-Gauge test.

These methods provide limited information, but can help guide the choice of doctor for other tests.