ERECTILE dysfunction can be devastating for a man, with one in five guys saying they have experienced problems at one time or another.
If you're having problems 'getting it up', you're far from alone and plenty of help is out there. Read on for more…
What is erectile dysfunction?
The condition is sometimes referred to as impotence and is characterised by the inability to get or maintain an erection.
Psychological impotence refers to when a man can't get it up because of thoughts or feelings that are holding him back.
When impotence is caused by underlying physical health problems it tends to be longer-lasting and treatment is needed.
What are the psychological causes of erectile dysfunction?
Depression and anxiety can both cause erectile dysfunction as a sufferer's libido is hampered by feelings of sadness or worry.
Relationship issues, lack of sexual knowledge, and past sexual abuse can also be responsible.
Sometimes entering a new relationship is the problem and feelings of guilt are also a known cause.
It's been revealed that men addicted to porn are at risk of erectile dysfunction because their "sexual tolerance is higher".
Dr Joseph Alukal, associate professor of urology and director of male reproductive health at New York University, said: “Visual stimulation will often increase sexual arousal in both men and women.
“But when the majority of their time is spent viewing and masturbating to pornography, it is likely they will become less interested in real-world sexual encounters.
“These studies suggest the issue may be trivial in women, but not so for men, and could lead to sexual dysfunction.
“Sex is half in your body and half in your head and it may not be a physical component driving the behaviour, but a psychological one.
“For this reason, it’s important for physicians to understand the underlying issues leading to the sexual dysfunction prior to suggesting treatment options.”
What are the physical causes of erectile dysfunction?
There are four main types of physical condition that can cause impotence in men:
- Vasculogenic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes affect the flow of blood to your penis and cause erectile dysfunction.
- Neurogenic conditions, which affect the nerves and include disorders such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis, are also responsible.
- A hormonal disorder, affecting your hormones, is another example of a physical problem that can lead to impotence.
- An anatomical condition is something that affects the tissue or structure of the penis and is the fourth physical cause. Old age is also commonly associated with impotence.
What to do if your erectile dysfunction is not physical or psychological?
Some men experience impotence when they have too much to drink.
Drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, crack and heroin can also lead to problems in the bedroom.
When a man is extremely tired this can also make it more difficult to get it up.
Is there a cure for erectile dysfunction?
There is no one single cure to beat ED, but rather a combination of lifestyle monitoring, medication and therapy.
Various treatments for erectile dysfunction are available – but they depend on the underlying reasons for the condition.
Some of the causes can be treated with medication, but in other cases it's a matter of making some lifestyle changes.
Health specialists will often treat impotence by targeting an underlying health condition which is causing it such as heart disease or diabetes.
Lifestyle changes are also recommended such as losing weight, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, exercising more, and reducing stress.
Viagra, a medication to help erectile dysfunction, is now available over the counter in the UK.
Aside from that, Cialis, Levitra, and Spedra can also be prescribed.
These drugs are known a Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors.
However these medications should be used with caution in men who have heart problems.
Sex therapists out there can also help men to get hard again but this treatment only works if the problem is psychological.
Another method is prescription only testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) which involves regularly administering testosterone via injections, creams, or a skin patch.
IN February 2020, Brit scientists at Futura Medical revealed they had created breakthrough, non-drug based gel for erectile dysfunction called Med3000.
But the drug is still going through regulatory processes in the US and there is no timeline or set date for the gel to be made available in the UK.
However the company are seeking marketing approval to start selling the drug both in Europe and America.
In October 2020, a statement updating progress on the new wonder gel read: "MED3000 is the company’s breakthrough, topical gel formulation for treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) and Futura is seeking marketing approval for the product in Europe and the US for use as a clinical treatment without the need of a doctor’s prescription".
Surgery is a possible treatment for males with refractory ED, where other treatments have not been effective.
Penile implant surgery has the highest patient and partner satisfaction of all ED treatments, including oral PDE-5 inhibitors and penile injections.
Are there alternative treatments for erectile dysfunction?
It was reported in 2018 that statins, drugs used for reducing cholesterol, ease blood flow and help men maintain erections.
Another method discovered this year (2020) is sound wave treatment, sometimes known as shockwave or acoustic wave therapy.
The treatment involves emitting noninvasive low-intensity sound waves that pass through erectile tissue, restoring natural erectile function by clearing plaque out of blood vessels and encouraging the growth of new blood vessels.
Watermelon is said to be a possible natural treatment for erectile dysfunction.
The fruit has various health benefits including the relaxing of the blood vessels – something which can help with getting more blood to the penis.
A gadget called a "Stays-Hard" is another potential treatment for impotence and could be available on the NHS in the next three years.
The gadget holds the penis aloft so a man can maintain a solid erection for longer.
And following a Mediterranean diet has been found to help, according to scientists at the University of California-Irvine.
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