Erectile Dysfunction

What is it?

Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is the inability of an individual to achieve erection or keep a firm erection during a sexual activity. This problem may not cause much concern when occurring intermittently. However, it may affect a relationship negatively and break a person’s self-confidence when the condition tends to be ongoing.

It is quite awkward discussing this problem with doctors. However, it is best to seek medical consultation and evaluation as impotence is a sign of an underlying disease condition that needs prompt treatment and management such as a poorly controlled diabetes and heart problems. To reverse the condition, the underlying health problem needs to be treated accordingly. But in cases where the health condition suspected to cause it is already managed and the erectile dysfunction is still present then other treatments and medication therapy should be implemented.

What are the clinical symptoms of ED?

When a person suffers from ED, the erection may still be present but it is not firm enough for sex. The symptoms of this condition include the following:

  • Problems achieving erection
  • Problems keeping an erection
  • Decreased desire for sex

Best Time to Seek Medical Help

Since this condition is quite awkward to share to a stranger, it is best to choose a family doctor to confide erectile problems. An individual should see a doctor if:

  • Erection difficulty is a big issue for the client and/or the partner
  • Diagnosis of other health conditions known to be linked with ED is confirmed. These conditions include diabetes and health disease
  • Erection difficulties are accompanied by unrelated symptoms

What are the causes of ED?

With sexual stimulation, arousal usually follows. In males, certain parts of human body and components are involved during the complex process to achieve erection. The involved components are the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. A problem in any of these component results to erectile dysfunction. Presence of stress and mental problems aggravates the condition too.

When physical and psychological predisposing factors combine, a worsened ED takes place. For example, a couple is struggling due to the man’s slowed response to sexual stimulation and maintaining an erection. This situation may cause anxiety which further aggravates erection problems.

Common Physical Causes of ED

  1. Heart disease
  2. Atherosclerosis – a condition where the blood vessels become clogged disrupting normal circulation
  3. Increase blood pressure
  4. Diabetes
  5. Obesity
  6. Metabolic syndrome
  7. Decreased testosterone levels
  8. Alcoholism and other substance abuse cases
  9. Prostate cancer treatments
  10. Parkinson’s disease
  11. Tobacco use
  12. Scarred tissues in the penis (Peyronie’s Disease)
  13. Medication therapy
  14. Surgeries involving the area around the pelvis and spinal cord

Common Psychological Causes of ED

  1. Depression
  2. Mental problems
  3. Relationship troubles
  4. Fatigue
  5. Stress

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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