Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a fairly common problem, especially in men over the age of 40 years, secondary to anxiety, medication or alcohol intake. It refers to the inability or difficulty in having or maintaining erection, long enough for sexual activity. According to best sexologist in Lahore occasional erectile dysfunction is not a cause for concern, however, persistent erectile dysfunction can lead to relationship issues, depression and anxiety. Read on to know more about erectile dysfunction, its causes, diagnosis, treatment and outlook:
What causes erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is not due to a single cause; rather, it is a multifactorial illness with many causes. ED can be due to:
- Medical causes: an underlying health condition can sometimes present with ED. These can include:
o high blood cholesterol
o uncontrolled diabetes which contributes to atherosclerosis and neuropathy
o chronic kidney disease
o metabolic syndromes
o high blood pressure
o sleep disorders
o Peyronie’s disease
o Hormonal disorders like low serum testosterone
o Multiple sclerosis
o Parkinson’s disease
- Lifestyle factors: contributing to erectile dysfunction include:
o Cigarette smoking
o Obesity and physical inactivity
o Drinking alcohol excessively
- Surgery: of the following regions can also lead to ED:
o Spinal cord
- Medications: certain medications can have the side effect of erectile dysfunction, including:
o Ulcer medications
o Blood pressure medications
o Appetite suppressants
o Chemotherapy drugs
- Psychological reasons: poor emotional health and psychological factors can also have an impact on sexual health and ED. Such factors which contribute to ED include:
o Low self-esteem
o Performance anxiety
How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed?
The diagnosis of erectile dysfunction starts with a complete and thorough medical history and examination of the patient. Be sure to disclose to your healthcare provider your prescription history, smoking history, emotional health condition and the amount of alcohol you consume. All the factors mentioned before are considered contributory to erectile dysfunction. Diagnostic investigations which can help identify the cause, include:
- Blood tests: these tests can reveal any underlying metabolic disorder including heart disease, diabetes and low sex hormone levels.
- Ultrasound of the scrotum: the high frequency sound waves of ultrasound can identify any blood flow problems to the testes.
- Urine complete exam: urinalysis also helps to look for underlying metabolic disorders and retrograde ejaculation.
- Psychological evaluation: a complete psychological evaluation can screen for mental health problems contributing to erectile dysfunction. These can include anxiety, depression and stress.
What are the treatment options?
The treatment options for erectile dysfunction include both medical management and lifestyle modification:
- Medications: oral drugs that can help relieve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction include phosphodiesterase inhibitors which relax the blood vessels of the penis so erection can occur and be maintained in response to sexual stimulation. These drugs should not be taken concurrently with blood pressure medication like nitrates and alpha blockers or if you have persistently low blood pressure. Examples of phosphodiesterase inhibitors include:
- Hormone replacement drugs: if low serum testosterone is a cause of erectile dysfunction, then replacing the hormone exogenously with pills can help to normalize the blood levels of this hormone. However, this pill is not an option for people with normal serum testosterone, and can have adverse effects if used.
- Pumps: vacuum pumps can be used to draw blood into the penis through a plastic tube placed around the penis. This device can help to achieve and maintain erection for about half hour.
- Psychological help: for people with performance anxiety and stress as the cause of erectile dysfunction, getting psychological help can work wonders. Psychological help can also work for couples with relationship troubles secondary to erectile dysfunction.
- Surgery: inflatable implant, arterial repair and malleable implants are a few surgical options for treating erectile dysfunction.
What is the outlook for people with erectile dysfunction?
Sexologists in Islamabad have various approaches to identify and treat erectile dysfunction. In many cases, erectile dysfunction is treatable with a combination of medication and lifestyle modifications. However, adherence to medication and compliance is of utmost importance in such cases.