Erectile Dysfunction Meaning
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or sustain an erection during sex. It is also referred to as impotence, which means you cannot have a satisfactory sexual experience with your partner. Erections usually involve dilation of blood vessels, so any problems that lessen or block the blood supply to your sexual organ can cause erectile dysfunction. It can also result from a faulty vein that causes blood loss. Other conditions like hormonal imbalances like anxiety & depression can also result in that.
How does an erection work?
At the sexual arousal stage, the Nervous stimulus stimulates chemicals to be released, which increase blood flow to the erection chambers in the penis. These two chambers are spongy tissues and relax and pull blood when the erection is ongoing. When the man reaches the orgasm stage, the set of nerve signals causes muscular contraction in the penis, which causes blood to be moved back from the penis to circulation. This is evidenced by the appearance of the penis after sex which looks lumpy and soft.
Since blood vessels are controlled by nervous stimulus, any nerve disorders can also cause it. Other medications interrupting the nerve signals are; sedatives, antihistamines, antidepressants, antihypertensives, etc.
In younger people, psychological stress and performance anxiety is usually the cause. Others include fatigue, depression, tension, rejection, relationship problems, and childhood trauma like prior sexual abuse.
Causes of Weak Erection
- Heart diseases
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Use of tobacco
- Substance abuse
- Metabolic syndrome; is the combination of hypertension, high cholesterol, and increased insulin level.
- Low testosterone
- Injuries and surgeries that affect the spinal cord and the pelvic area
- Peyronie’s disease is a development of a scar around the penis
- Sleep disorders
- Being over age 50
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Treatments for prostate cancer
- Specific medical treatments like radiation
- Symptoms of Erectile dysfunction
- Inability to get an erection
- Problem sustaining erection for long
- Lack of sexual desire
- Low self-esteem
DIAGNOSIS: Erectile dysfunction test
- History taking; A medical personnel like a doctor or nurse will assess your medical, surgical, and sexual history.
- Physical examination; An examination of your reproductive organs such as the penis, scrotum, and testicle will be done.
- Urinalysis; This is a urine test, usually done to assess diabetes and other medical conditions that might contribute to the condition.
- Nocturnal penile tumescence; is an overnight test that can be used for sleep erection.
- Ultrasound examinations, like penile doppler, can assess for problems relating to blood flow.
- Penile x-rays, MRI, or CT, can be used if there is a history of trauma.
- Mental health examination; will assess for psychological problems that can have an impact.
What is the latest treatment for erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction pills: The latest treatment for erectile dysfunction are medications like tadalafil[Cialis], sildenafil[Viagra], avanafil[stendra], and Vardenafil[Levitra] can be taken before sex. It works by improving blood flow to your sexual organ. Sexual stimulation is first needed to produce a compound called nitric oxide from the penile nerves. These medications above will amplify the signal. The use of these medications varies and could prove less effective in some conditions like diabetes or after prostate surgery. A drug termed alprostadil which can come in either suppository form or injection, can also help with erection quickly. This is injected into the base of the penis. Side effects of the injection include; prolonged erection and mild bleeding. For the suppository form, side effects include; a burning feeling in the penis and fibrous tissue formation in the penis. An important note is to avoid taking oral medications if you are taking nitrates for your heart problem.
Testosterone replacements can be used in people diagnosed with low testosterone, as this can complicate erectile dysfunction.
Lifestyle changes, like weight loss, exercise regimen, and stopping habits like smoking and alcohol drinking, can also help.
Counselling therapy; if the psychological problem is discovered to play a role.
A vacuum device, also called a penis pump, can help pull blood to the penis, which will cause an erection. This is a hollow tube that is either battery-powered or hand-powered. This tube is placed on the penis, and it sucks out the air inside the tube. The erection from this usually lasts enough for sex, and there is a tension ring around the base of the penis to hold it firm; this is removed after sex.
Penile implants; involve placing implants rods that are inflatable or bendable into both sides of your penis surgically. The inflatable device helps you control when and how long to have sex while the malleable rod keeps the penis firm and bendable. This surgery is not recommended if you have a urinary tract infection, and there is a risk of complications like infection. Usually, there is a high satisfaction rate among users. Therefore, this is usually the last resort.
Recovery after penile implants
There will be a pain sensation for most men, which can be relieved by using a narcotic drug and can be substituted for over-the-counter medications after the first week.
- Swelling and bruising can last for a few weeks after the surgery.
- Physical activity should be limited for the first month.
- If there is a post-surgery infection, it will be removed.
- Surgery: A damaged or blocked artery to the penis can be repaired, or an implantable rod can be inserted.
- Exercise; This has been proven to improve erectile dysfunction. Moderate to vigorous regular type can also reduce the risk of having it.
- Kegel exercises can be used to improve pelvic floor muscle. Aerobic exercises are also good for you. Others include yoga, meditation, etc.
- Diet modification; Choosing healthy foods over bad cholesterol, caffeine, and alcohol can go a long way. Also, herbs and supplements like L-arginine, L-carnitine, and ginseng are great.
- Effective management of diabetes: According to a 2014 review, the risk of having erectile dysfunction is 50 times higher in men with diabetes, as diabetes can lead to damage to blood vessels and nerves.
Complications Of Erectile Dysfunction
A sexual life that is not satisfactory can lead to
- Relationship problem
Prevention of Erectile Dysfunction
Healthy lifestyle choices that include;
- Regular exercises
- Stress management and reduction
- Quit smoking, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
- Treat underlying medical conditions.