What is erectile dysfunction (impotence)?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient to insert the penis into the vagina and perform satisfactory intercourse. Such common sexual disorders as decreased sexual desire, rapid ejaculation, and infertility do not apply to impotence. Erectile dysfunction significantly affects the quality of life of most men suffering from it.
How common is erectile dysfunction?
The frequency of erectile dysfunction varies with age. If in the age group from 20 to 40 years old it averages 3–7%, then at the age of 40 to 60 years old it occurs in 15–40% of men. At the age of over 70, erectile dysfunction can disturb up to 50% of men. Age itself is not the cause of impotence. But with age, various diseases (vascular atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, etc.) more often occur or progress, which can become a direct cause of erectile dysfunction.
How does an erection occur, and what is its mechanism?
In order to better understand what causes erectile dysfunction, you should know how an erection occurs. Penile tension or erection is provided by cavernous (cavernous) bodies, which are located inside the penis and have the structure of a honeycomb sponge. At the time when a man experiences sexual arousal, impulses come from the brain through the spinal cord and further along the peripheral nerves to the cavernous bodies, triggering the release of vasodilating substances in them. As a result, arterial blood flow to the cavernous bodies is significantly increased. At the same time, the veins of the penis constrict, reducing the outflow of blood. The combination of an increase in blood flow to the penis with a decrease in its outflow leads to a full erection.
What can cause erectile dysfunction?
Erection problems can be caused by two groups of reasons: psychological (psychogenic) and somatic (organic). Studies over the past 20 years have shown that erectile dysfunction is rarely caused by purely psychological causes (stress, depression, behavioral patterns, etc.). At the same time, it became known that about 80% of all cases of erectile dysfunction are caused by some physical (somatic, organic) conditions. These include diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, vascular atherosclerosis, kidney and liver failure, thyroid disease, hormonal disorders, the consequences of operations on the prostate and rectum, trauma, and diseases of the spinal cord and brain (stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.), consequences of pelvic injuries, Peyronie’s disease. Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by certain medications. Persistent erectile dysfunction can develop as a result of bad habits such as drinking, smoking, and taking drugs. Common not only among the population but also, unfortunately, among doctors, the opinion that sexual infections and chronic prostatitis can become the causes of ED has nothing to do with reality and is erroneous. Waiting for a significant improvement in impaired erection after the treatment of chronic prostatitis or sexually transmitted infections is absolutely useless.
Can erectile dysfunction be cured?
Modern medicine has achieved impressive success in the treatment of impotence and has made this problem successfully solvable. Therefore, if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, you should not put up with this problem and do nothing to overcome it. It is necessary to consult a qualified doctor, a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of impotence. After a thorough examination, taking into account individual characteristics, you will be selected the best impotence treatment method for you, which will return all the joys of full sex to your life. Erectile dysfunction risk factors will be corrected, which can significantly improve your own erection. The modern therapeutic arsenal for erectile dysfunction includes drug treatment with pills, vacuum erection therapy, and injections of drugs that stimulate erection into the penis. Well, in cases where conservative methods of impotence treatment do not help, the problem is best solved with the help of a penile prosthesis operation.