Everything You Need to Know About Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

The following are some things you need to know about ED:


What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction refers to any condition that prevents a man from achieving or maintaining an erection sufficient for sexual activity. It includes both medical conditions such as hypogonadism, which causes low levels of testosterone in men, and psychological factors such as depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse. A variety of other conditions may cause similar symptoms.


How Does Erectile Dysfunction Affect Your Life?

It affects your life if it prevents you from having an erection during sexual activity. If you have no erection at all, then you cannot enjoy the pleasure of sexual activity. However, there are many reasons why erectile dysfunction may not affect your life so much. For example, if you suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, these conditions will prevent you from getting an erection even when taking certain medications.


Why Do Men Have Low Levels of Testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland located in the brain. It plays an important role in regulating male reproductive functions including growth, development and maintenance of secondary sexual characteristics such as hairiness, body odor and muscle mass. When a man’s level of testosterone drops below normal levels, he experiences symptoms such as decreased libido, loss of energy and fatigue. This condition is known as hypogonadism.


Why Do Men Have an Erection?

Erection is a process that involves relaxation of smooth muscles in the arteries and tension of the smooth muscles in the veins. Certain chemicals are released that increase the flow of blood into the corpora cavernosa and reduce the outflow of blood from these spaces. As a result, blood fills the chambers and causes an erection.


What Are the Different Types of Erectile Dysfunction?

There are different types of erectile dysfunction. The most common types include physical or psychological causes. When a physical cause can be identified, the problem is called organic erectile dysfunction. If no physical cause can be identified, the problem is called psychogenic erectile dysfunction.


What Is Peyronie’s Disease?

Peyronie’s disease is a condition that causes scarring inside the lining of the erectile chambers of the corpora cavernosa. The disease was first described in 1743 by French surgeon Francois d’Avalos d’Ardanville, who treated Napoleon Bonaparte. It is also known as “hard plaque”. The scarring develops gradually over months or years and is usually located near the tip of the erectile chamber.


What Causes Peyronie’s Disease?

The exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is unknown. It seems to be caused by a combination of factors, such as genetics, injury and aging. The disease can run in families and is more common in men over the age of 40. Smoking is also believed to increase the risk of developing the disease.


How Is Peyronie’s Disease Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and give you a physical exam. This may reveal any diseases or conditions that may be causing the symptoms. If no cause is found during the examination, other tests such as blood tests or X-rays may be ordered.


What Are the Treatment Options for Peyronie’s Disease?

Treatment options for Peyronie’s disease include medications, surgery and lifestyle changes.

Medications: Certain medications such as Erythropoietin, Pentoxifylline, Nifedipine and Vitamin E have been found to be effective in treating the condition.

Surgery: Surgery is not a common treatment option and is usually considered only in men who do not respond to other treatments or have severe deformities. One type of surgery uses a laser to burn off the scarred tissue. Another option is tissue expansion, which involves injecting saline solution in the scarred area to stretch it out and make it thinner.

Lifestyle changes: In some cases, changes in lifestyle such as quitting smoking and using a support strap during sexual activity can help reduce the symptoms.


What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?

Some of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction include the inability to get or keep an erection and low libido. Some men may also have urinary symptoms such as trouble starting urination or a slow urine stream.


How Is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask questions about your medical history and give you a physical examination. In many cases, the physical examination alone is enough to diagnose erectile dysfunction. If further testing is needed, your doctor may order blood tests or a prompt vela test.


What Is Prostate Gland Cancer?

The prostate gland is located between the bladder and the rectum in men. Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissue of the prostate. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, some grow quickly. Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t die from it.


What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Gland Cancer?

Risk factors for prostate cancer include getting older, a family history of the disease and African-American descent.


How Is Prostate Gland Cancer Diagnosed?

Your doctor will give you a physical examination and may order blood tests to check the levels of PSA in your blood. An increased level of PSA could mean there is an abnormality in the prostate.


What Are Treatment Options for Prostate Gland Cancer?

Treatment for prostate cancer depends on the stage of the disease, overall health and several other factors. The main treatment options include watchful waiting, surgery and radiation therapy. Other treatments such as hormone therapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy are used in specific cases.

Watchful waiting: In this case, doctors will monitor your condition to see if it grows or remains stable. This is a suitable option for patients who are too ill or frail for other treatments or don’t have many symptoms.

Surgery: The common surgical procedures used to treat prostate cancer include robotic surgery, laparoscopic surgery and open prostatectomy. The type of surgery used will be based on the stage of the disease and the patient’s preference. Common side effects of surgery include urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy for prostate cancer: external beam and brachytherapy. External beam radiation is preferred in most cases.

Sources & references used in this article:

Erectile physiological and pathophysiological pathways involved in erectile dysfunction by KE Andersson – The Journal of urology, 2003 – Elsevier

Self-esteem and depression in men who present with erectile dysfunction by H Intili, D Nier – Urologic Nursing, 1998 – cbuna.org

Prevalence of erectile dysfunction in Thailand by …, Thai Erectile Dysfunction … – … journal of andrology, 2000 – Wiley Online Library

Bigger and better: how Pfizer redefined erectile dysfunction by J Lexchin – PLoS Med, 2006 – journals.plos.org

Report of erectile dysfunction after therapy with beta-blockers is related to patient knowledge of side effects and is reversed by placebo by A Silvestri, P Galetta, E Cerquetani… – European Heart …, 2003 – academic.oup.com

Prevalence and risk factors for erectile dysfunction in 2869 men using a validated questionnaire by A Ponholzer, C Temml, K Mock, M Marszalek… – European urology, 2005 – Elsevier