Erectile Dysfunction FAQs
Reviewed By : Dr. Anjali D.
Following are the common questions about Erectile Dysfunction:
- What is the meaning of erectile dysfunction?
- How does erection happen?
- What are the common signs and symptoms of Erectile dysfunction?
- What tests are suggested for Erectile dysfunction?
- What are the costs of tests for erectile dysfunction in India?
- What are the factors that lead to Erectile dysfunction?
- What are the complications associated with Erectile dysfunction?
- What are the different treatment methods for Erectile dysfunction?
- What are the preventive measures to adopt for Erectile dysfunction?
What is the meaning of erectile dysfunction?
ED (Erectile dysfunction) refers to inability of men to get a firm erection or not being able to keep it firm for long enough while engaging in sexual intercourse. Also called impotency, this ailment is quite common and males usually experience it due to stress.
However, if ED is frequent, it is a definite sign of some health issue that requires treatment. This condition may also arise due to difficulties in relationship or some other emotional or professional burden.
How does erection happen?
Erection occurs due to increased flow of blood in penis. This flow of blood is stimulated usually due to sexual thoughts or some kind of direct touch with penis. The process is as follows:
- Due to being sexually excited, muscles inside penis get relaxed
- This relaxation leads to increased flow of blood via penile arteries
- The blood then fills inside the two chambers of penis which are known as Corpora Cavernosa
- These filled chambers lead to making the penis rigid
- Erection will end when penis muscles contract; thus leading to flowing out accumulated blood via penile veins
What are the common signs and symptoms of Erectile dysfunction?
Common signs and symptoms of ED include:
- Inability to get a firm erection
- Inability of keeping an erection firm
- Reduction in sexual desire
What tests are suggested for Erectile dysfunction?
- Physical examination: Doctors will first conduct a complete physical examination for accessing overall health of patient. This examination will include checking blood pressure and inquiring about any past injury or illness. Testicles and penis are examined for checking sensitivity changes.
- Psychological analysis: Physical examination is followed by psychological analysis wherein questions related to patient's sex life, depression, anxiety and stress are asked and analyzed.
- Blood tests: Sample of patient's blood will be taken for checking signs about associated diseases of ED that include diabetes, kidney disease and heart ailments.
- Ultrasound scan: This scan will help doctors check issues related to blood flow. The test might also involve combination of one medication injection into penis for stimulating flow of blood and producing erection.
What are the costs of tests for erectile dysfunction in India?
Though the tests will defer according to conditions, the cost of impotency tests in India will depend on your residence city and the type of hospital or diagnostic center chosen. You can find the rates for tests related to ED based on your city of residence here.
What are the factors that lead to Erectile dysfunction?
ED can be caused due to various reasons; both psychological and physical.
The physical factors or reasons leading to ED are:
- Blood vessels leading to penis are narrow (This problem is usually associated with diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol
- Hormonal concerns
- Injury or surgery
- Cardiovascular disease
The psychological factors or reasons leading to ED are:
Some men may also suffer from erectile dysfunction due to some medicines. Your doctor may be a better judge to evaluate this.
- Issues in relationship
- Alcohol consumption
- Drug addiction
What are the complications associated with Erectile dysfunction?
Complications associated with ED include:
- Unsatisfactory and unexciting sex life
- Anxiety and stress levels are high
- Self-esteem is low and patient always feels embarrassment
- Issues in relationship
- Inability of getting partner pregnant further leads to stress
What are the different treatment methods for Erectile dysfunction?
The treatment method for ED will depend on the exact cause of this ailment. Various treatment methods include:
Changes in lifestyle for improving of ED condition include:
Though these changes do not directly treat ED, they improve outlook of numerous underlying conditions causing the ailment.
- Losing weight
- Quitting alcohol, drugs and smoking
Psychological treatments suggested for impotency include counseling for dealing with anxiety, stress and other reasons that lead to this condition. Some males will be suggested sex therapy too which includes improvement in sexual skills. Such therapy is provided by best psychologists.
Medications for impotency:
Medications are usually suggested in combination with some other treatments. These medications aid in increasing flow of blood and accentuating nitric oxide effect in body. Some of these medications are prescribed for daily consumption while others need to be taken before sexual intercourse.
Some injectable medications too many be prescribed for increasing blood flow in penis. Such injections are injected in the base of penis and are effective for achieving erection.
Note: As low testosterone levels are a cause of ED, testosterone replacement might also be suggested for some patients.
Erectile dysfunction surgery:
Types of surgeries suggested for impotency include:
- Penile implants: In penile implants surgery, two methods are used depending on condition. First type uses one inflatable rod while other uses a rod that is semi-rigid. Both these implants will be inserted in corpus cavernosa (refer question 2). Implants are the final remedy used if other forms of treating ED fail.
- Blood vessel surgery: If it is found that blood vessels inside penis are damaged, blood vessel surgery may be used; though this is not commonly performed for treating ED.
- Use of vacuum pumps: Vacuum pumps that are hand held will be used for drawing blood into penis, and post achievement of erection, this blood will be trapped inside penis with use of elastic band. The band will be removed later for subsiding erection. It is recommended to use such pumps only if medically approved.
What are the preventive measures to adopt for Erectile dysfunction?
Though ED is a common ailment troubling males, there are certain preventive measures that can be helpful. Preventive measures include:
Healthy lifestyle: A healthy body is a contributor to your sexual health and hence, maintaining healthy lifestyle is crucial to prevent ED. For this you can:
- Maintain proper weight
- Regular exercise
- Eat well
- Stay away from smoking
- Avoid excess alcohol
Controlling chronic illness: Chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are major contributors towards increasing risk of ED. So for controlling these you can:
- Regulate blood sugar
- Maintain healthy levels of blood pressure
- Manage cholesterol via proper medication and diet
- Take correct medication for any chronic illness you suffer from
Ensure that you stay away from emotional stress as far as possible. Anxiety and depression are major contributors to ED. So if such conditions that affect your mental health and eventually lead to erectile dysfunction are visible, contacting a doctor immediately is recommended.
Communication is vital:
Irrespective of the reason or cause leading to ED, honest and open communication is extremely vital for prevention and treatment. Talking freely with your partner and also your doctor is necessary to get out of this stressful condition. Though embarrassing, communication is the primary step you can take towards successful treatment and prevention of the condition in future.