Erectile dysfunction AKA impotence is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection.
It can have many causes and the appropriate remedy depends on the cause.
The principal causes may be subdivided into two categories.
Firstly, there are physical causes and secondly psychological ones.
Physical Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction
The principal physical causes are injury to the pelvis or spine, heart disease, blood clot, diabetes and obesity.
Apart from these, the ability to achieve an erection can be influenced by a low testosterone level, certain types of medication, alcohol or drug abuse and diseases like Parkinson’s, Peyronie’s and multiple sclerosis.
Psychological Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction
The principal psychological causes are stress, depression and relationship problems.
Though it can be classed as a physical cause, tiredness can also be a factor.
The problems with impotence are obvious.
The inability to have a satisfactory sex life may adversely affect a relationship.
This may lead to low self-esteem and additional stress, resulting in a vicious circle of cause and effect.
Remedies For Erectile Dysfunction
The specific treatment depends on the cause and the cause can be established by medical tests.
These include a physical check-up, blood and urine tests and ultrasound examination.
The commonly prescribed medication includes Sildenafil (Viagra) and Tadalafil (Cialis).
Because of the risk of side effects, these medicines should only be taken with a doctor’s approval.
Apart from medication, there are physical remedies.
One is a penis pump.
This is a tube placed over the penis from which the air is partially removed by means of a hand or battery-operated pump.The semi-vacuum created causes extra blood to enter the penis, resulting in an erection. To hold this blood in place a rubber tension ring is slipped over the base of the penis. This causes it to remain rigid when the vacuum tube is removed.
Surgical penile implants are a more radical solution.
There are two common types. One consists of a pair of firm but flexible plastic rods surgically inserted into each side of the penis.
Once in place, the penis can be bent as required – the rods keeping it at the desired angle.
The other type consists of two inflatable tubes inserted in the penis and connected to a fluid reservoir, which is implanted in either the scrotum or the abdomen. An erection results when the fluid is pumped from the reservoir into the inflatable tubes.
Both solutions involve surgery and are expensive, particularly the inflatable type.
If the cause of the dysfunction is psychological, the solution may be found by dealing with the underlying stress, depression or relationship issues.
This usually entails medication and/or counselling.
Apart from all the foregoing remedies, in cases where there is no underlying permanent physical injury or damage, the person themselves can often play a part in alleviating or even solving the problem.
Dealing with alcohol or drug abuse, giving up smoking, losing weight and taking exercise can each have a positive impact.
Erectile dysfunction has numerous physical and psychological causes. It affects most men at some time in their lives. If it doesn’t persist, it generally isn’t a problem. If it does, the upside is that there are numerous proven effective remedies.