Erectile dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Occurs when a man can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.

There are a number of things that can lead to erectile dysfunction. The most common cause is reduced blood flow to the penis due to chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and hardening of the arteries.

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Erectile dysfunction

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Blood flow through the arteries and veins of the penis is essential to achieving and maintaining an erection. It stands to reason then, that any disease or disorder that impairs blood flow, can influence ED. Poor blood flow can occur because of the normal breakdown of blood vessels that occur as men age. ED can also be caused by:
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Damage from cancer or surgery
  • Injuries
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship problems
  • Drug use
  • Alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • These factors can work singly or in combination.

How Do We Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

Today, we have many ways to treat ED. For some men, making a few healthy lifestyle changes is all that is needed to solve the problem. Quitting smoking, losing excess weight, and increasing physical activity may help some men regain sexual function.

Cutting back on any drugs with harmful side effects is considered next. Psychotherapy and behavior modifications in selected patients has been helpful. In rare cases, surgery involving veins or arteries may be considered. However, most men can be treated with a simple medication that relaxes muscles and increases blood flow to the penis.

How Do Men Get an Erection?

To understand how to best treat ED, let’s look at how erections are achieved in the first place. An erection is the result of increased blood flow into the penis. Blood flow is usually stimulated by either sexual thoughts or intimate contact.

When a man becomes sexually excited, muscles in the penis relax. This relaxation allows for increased blood flow through the penile arteries. This blood fills two chambers inside the penis called the corpora cavernosa. As the chambers fill with blood, the penis grows rigid. Erection ends when the muscles contract and the accumulated blood can flow out through the penile veins.

ED can occur because of problems at any stage of the erection process.

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Erectile dysfunction