Erectile dysfunction is defined as an inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse.
There are three types of erections — those caused by tactile stimulation( Touch), those caused by mental stimulation, and those that men experience while sleeping.
On average, a healthy adult male experience 3 to 5 erections per night that last up to 30 minutes.
It is a common misconception that ED means there is something wrong with penis itself and nothing else.
Sexual arousal in men is a complicated process that involves hormones, emotions, brain, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Anything that affects these components of male sexual arousal can also contribute to the occurrence of erectile dysfunction.
It is the combination of physical and psychological factors that play the role in most cases.
The causes Erectile dysfunction can be divided into the following groups.
- Psychological causes – Stress, performance anxiety, loss of feeling towards partner .
- Hormonal causes – Low testosterone levels. Thyroid hormone abnormalities, Hyperprolactinemia, Addison’s disease(inadequate secretion of hormones by the adrenal cortex), Cushing’s disease ( Increased secretion of cortisol ) and diabetes.
- Vascular disorders –Diseases affecting blood flow such as hardening of the arteries.
- Neurological causes –stroke, dementia, spinal cord injury, epilepsy.
- Risk factors – obesity, smoking, alcoholism, Hypertension, high cholesterol levels, lack of exercise, use of certain medications
It is important to consult with your doctor if you are suffering from ED , so that a detailed evaluation can be made .
There are many options for men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. The basic approach to treatment is to treat/rectify the underlying cause.
Before suggesting pharmacological help, the doctor may suggest a change in lifestyle habits. Since many causes of erectile dysfunction are disorders in which lifestyle changes will have a positive effect, addressing these issues can be helpful.
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, smoking cessation, and limiting alcohol consumption can all have an impact on erectile function.
If the lifestyle changes do not give satisfactory results, there is medical options available like- Oral pharmacological treatment, transurethral therapy, Intracavernous injections.
– Dr.Afroze Fatima