Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects more than 50% of men over the age of 40 in the UK alone. The dysfunction is characterised by the inability to form and maintain an erection. It also includes inconsistent erections (brief erections).
The best treatment for the condition is PDE5 inhibitors. These are tablets that cause blood vessels in and around the penis to relax. It does this to allow larger bodies of blood into the penis. Once the blood is in the penis, it is kept there to form a rigid erection ideal for satisfactory sexual intercourse.
It also blocks the degradative action of the PDE5 enzyme in smooth muscle cell linings. This stops the erection from being prematurely disabled. These pills do not cause continuous erections, it only works in conjunction with sexual stimulation.
Identification of Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms
Symptoms are mental and physical features that usually present themselves if the body or mind is battling an illness. The feature is typically noticeable and uncomfortable. Symptom analysation is a crucial component to identifying the condition at hand.
When it comes to ED, there are 3 main types of erection issues, namely:
- Psychological (brain)
- Physiological (body)
- Mixed (body and brain)
These different ED types have various symptoms linked to them. By identifying the symptom being experienced, patients can identify the type of ED they have.
Below are symptoms linked to the mentioned erection types:
|An erection is easily formed via masturbation||Masturbation does not cause an erection
|Erections occur during the night (morning wood)||Erections are not experienced at night|
|The erection issues are sporadic (they come and go)||The erection issues are constant|
The brain causes psychological erection issues. It stems from the brain’s inability to send signals to the penis to form and/or sustain an erection. This can be due to mental ailments such as stress or anxiety, which block signal communication.
Physiological erection problems stem from issues with the circulatory or nervous system. These systems are responsible for delivering adequate amounts of blood and nerve signals to the penis. Fluctuating hormone levels or abnormalities of the penis can also form part of this category.
Causes of ED Explained
Whether you refer to them as diseases, illnesses, ailments or disorders, health issues are considered the downside of life. Thus, it is vital to find their cause to devise an appropriate treatment plan. ED is no different, finding the reason behind the presence of the disorder in your life can significantly impact treatment choices, durations and outcomes.
Below is a table that details the common causes of ED:
|Cause||ED type||Age group affected||Reason|
|Anxiety disorders and depression||Psychological||Younger||Mental disorders affect sex drives/arousal rates as mental and emotional responses are compromised.|
|Relationship issues||Psychological||Younger and older||Conflict in relationships can cause the loss of interest in intimacy.|
|Nerve damage||Physiological||Older||If nerves that carry signals between the brain and penis are damaged, arousal messages will not be communicated appropriately. This will lead to ED.|
|Cardiac problems (heart disease)||Physiological||Older||Heart issues cause reduced blood supply to different parts of the body, including the penis.|
|Cholesterol or high blood pressure||Physiological||Older||Similar to cardiac issues, blood pressure or cholesterol problems restrict blood supply to organs such as the penis.|
|Diabetes||Physiological||Older||Diabetes can also decrease blood supply to the penis, even if it is being managed with insulin or sugar pills.|
Lifestyle Changes Accelerate the Effects of Erectile Dysfunction Medications
Medication is an effective treatment choice for any ailment, be it the flu or ED. Although medication can manage and control ED, it only brings a patient 99% towards the success margin. The other 1% is based on patient efforts.
To receive 100% successful results or outcomes, patients can implement the following lifestyle changes:
- Reduce stress levels – Identifying and eliminating stressors from your life can help ED treatments work more efficiently as the body and mind are relaxed.
- Erectile dysfunction exercises – Patients are asked to do exercises such as kegels to make the muscles around the penis stronger. This can promote blood flow and help patients achieve a sustainable erection.
- Lose excess weight and exercise regularly – Tipping scales can cause the effects of ED medicines to be delayed or less effective. Keeping your body in optimum physical shape helps it respond better to treatment.
- Eat a balanced diet – Most ED treatments do not produce the desired results if taken in conjunction with or after a high-fat meal. Patients are asked to keep their meals light 60 minutes before taking the tablet. Alternatively, the pill can be taken on an empty stomach.
- Quit smoking – Smoking causes a decline in blood flow as it constricts muscles and blood vessels.
Can ED be Completely Cured with Medication?
Although medication is one of the most effective ED solutions on the market, patients must be realistic about the tablet’s abilities. ED pills can effectively control symptoms caused by the condition, but they cannot completely cure the condition.
Erectile dysfunction medications were designed to target, manage and minimise symptoms of the disorder which makes it a control aid, not a cure. ED treatments provide patients with significant relief, but there is no guarantee that the dysfunction will never resurface again.
Thus, experts urge patients to pair their treatment plans with the following for long-term results:
- Treating underlying health problems – In some cases, ED is a side effect of another health issue. By treating the underlying problem, patients can drastically improve their ED symptoms long-term.
- Counselling/therapy – if your ED is linked to mental health issues, counselling could improve your symptoms long-term. Patients can also undergo cognitive behavioural therapy.
- Physical exercise –a daily trip to the gym or at home exercise routines can help promote blood flow and oxygen intake, keeping the penile region healthy.
- Stimulation exercises (maturation, foreplay or sex)–whether you do this alone or with a partner, physical stimulation can help condition the organ into producing positive responses.
It should be noted that ED treatments can be used in both long- and short-term treatment plans, which means patients are never restricted when it comes to usage durations.