Erectile dysfunction is defined as consistent inability to achieve or keep a firm penile erection enough for satisfactory sexual practice.
An erection of the penis that is required for sexual intercourse is the hydraulic effect of blood entering and then being maintained in a sponge-like body within the penis. Erection is caused by sexual arousal when signals are transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis.
The factors which lead to erectile dysfunction are many i.e. cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, diabetes, unhealthy lifestyle, side effects of drugs, etc. Sometimes the reason behind the impotence is psychological, it is rare, but it can be cured with the help of proper psychotherapy. The signs and symptoms are as follows:
- repeated inability to attain and keep a firm erection
- inability to obtain a full erection at sometimes, such as nocturnal penile tumescence when asleep.
There are various factors which can lead to erectile dysfunction, and one of the most important reasons behind impotence is a lifestyle. The unhealthy lifestyle of the people leads to erectile dysfunction. Some other factors which lead to impotence are as followed:
- Side effects of drugs such as anti-depressants, nicotine, etc.
- Neurogenic disorders
- Cavernosal disorders
- Psychosocial causes, such as performance anxiety, stress, and mental disorders
- Aging- this is cause for the people above the age of 40 years old.
- Kidney failure
- Diabetes mellitus and multiple sclerosis (MS) are diseases which also cause erectile disorders.
- Surgical intervention sometimes leads to removal anatomical structures necessary to erection, damage nerves, or impair blood supply.
- Sometimes complications of treatment of prostate cancer can lead to impotence.
- Poor physical health, obesity, dietary habits and cardiovascular diseases also cause impotence.
Fo most men, a physical exam and answering some important questions are all required before a physician is ready to prescribe a treatment. If your physician suspects the underlying disease which may cause erectile dysfunction then he/she will assess you further and perform further tests:
- Physical exams-this include a physical examination of your penis and testicles. Through this, your physician will check your nerves for feeling.
- Blood tests-Blood tests should be performed to check fro signs fro cardiovascular events, testosterone levels, diabetes mellitus, and other health conditions.
- Urine tests-It is done to look fro signs of diabetes and other health related issues.
- Duplex Ultrasound-It is used to evaluate blood flow, venous leak, signs of atherosclerosis, and scarring or calcification of erectile tissue.
- Penile nerves function-The test is conducted to check the proper functioning of the penile nerves. The test used for this purpose is bulbocavernosus reflex test. In this method, the physician squeezes glans (head) of the penis, which immediately causes the anus to contract if nerve function is normal.
There are various treatments for the erectile dysfunction depending upon the cause of the disease. For different cause, there are different erectile dysfunction treatments. People who are more than 40 years of age can overcome this disease by indulging in exercise regularly and following a healthy lifestyle. For the people who smoke, they should stop smoking, and they can see the change in few days itself. There are some therapeutic devices and drugs which help to treat erectile dysfunction, and this is followed by injections of erectile dysfunction drugs into the penis and penile implants. Some methods are described in details below-
Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors-
There are a group of enzymes by the name of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases which destroys the cyclic nucleotides and can lead to the proper functioning of the penis.
A cream by the name of Vitaros approved in Canada is used as the first line of treatment for erectile dysfunction. It’s cream with alprostadil and permeation enhancer DDAIP.
Another method to treat erectile dysfunction is injected erectile dysfunction medications such as; papaverine, phentolamine, and prostaglandin E1.
A device by the name of vacuum erection device helps draw blood into the penis by applying negative pressure. It is also known as penis pump and may be used just before sexual intercourse. There are many FDA-approved devices used as the penis pump.
Penile implants- A penile prosthesis is used for erectile dysfunction cure, and it can be done in an outpatient center.
There are various natural methods or alternative medicines for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. There was a study in 2003 which showed that acupuncture improved the quality of erection in 39 percent of the participants.
There is a supplement by the name of Yohimbe which is extracted from the African Yohimbe tree, and some studies have shown positive effects on sexual performance with the use of this drug. There is another potential natural treatment for the erectile dysfunction, and they include, zinc supplements, the herb ashwagandha, and Ginkgo Biloba. But these supplements need more studies to prove their potential in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Following a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent erectile dysfunction.