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Erectile Dysfunction: Causes & Solutions

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Don’t Let Erectile Dysfunction Or Impotence Ruin Your Sex Life!

Erectile dysfunction, also sometimes referred to as impotence, is a type of sexual dysfunction characterised by the inability of a man to develop or maintain an erection for the purpose of sexual activity.

Most men experience fluctuations in their ability to achieve and maintain erections at some point in their life. Transient flaccidness caused by anxiety, fatigue or drinking too much alcohol shouldn’t be a cause for concern unless ongoing erectile problems become apparent.

For many men, ongoing impotence can have many secondary psychological implications if left untreated, including issues with self confidence and relationship difficulties. From hormonal issues and medical conditions through to psychological reasons, understanding the process of how an erection is obtained and the reasons for why is it isn’t occurring naturally is the first step towards finding a solution.

How Is An Erection Formed

Erections occur when additional blood flows into the penis to create an engorgement of the penile tissue, known as the Corpus Cavernosa As it fills with blood, the penis becomes larger and harder to form an erection. This can occur due to either physical or mental stimulation. Physical stimulation can cause a reflex reaction to send a rush of blood to the area. Mental stimulation, or sexual arousal, sends signals to trigger a hormonal response that opens up the arteries that supply the penile tissue, meaning that the blood enters much faster than it can leave. The extra blood compresses these veins further, trapping the blood inside the Corpus Cavernosa, creating an erection that lasts until the time where sexual arousal reduces and those hormones diminish.

Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction

While a penile erection is caused by the physical effect of blood entering and being retained in the spongy tissue of the penis, there are many reasons for why this process doesn’t occur to create an effective erection. The term erectile dysfunction simply means there is something stopping the body’s natural process of getting and maintaining an erection.

It’s important to remember that this condition is a symptom, not a disease. Impotence can be experienced due to either a physical illness or for psychological reasons. It is crucial that your local doctor fully investigates these potential causes in order to determine the best possible course of action as well as treating any other underlying medical conditions. Usually the causes of erectile issues will fit into one of the following three categories:

  1. The Brain Isn’t Sending The Right Signals

    Neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances and even psychological issues such as stress, anxiety and depression could disrupt your brains ability to send the ‘arousal’ messages to your reproductive tissues

  2. Blood Flow To The Penis Is Inadequate

    Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and cigarette smoking can all have an effect on the blood vessels that supply the penile tissue.

  3. Erectile Tissue Damage

    Far less common than the other physical causes, damage to the penile tissue can occur if a man has a condition such as Peyronie’s disease or has undergone radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

Diagnosis

Any ongoing issues should be investigated by a doctor. Medical tests can help find any underlying medical causes, determine if the blood flow into the penis is being affected and if there are any hormonal imbalances that need addressing. Once you have established which physical or psychological factors might be contributing to the impotence, the most suitable course of treatment can be established.

Treatment

There are many treatment options available for men suffering from this problem. Doctors will usually start with recommending the least invasive solutions and will only recommend the more invasive options as a last resort.

Non-invasive Treatments:

  • Reducing any risk factors by treating disease with medication and adopting healthier lifestyle habits.
  • Using oral medications that contain PDE5 inhibitors, such as Viagra, to help improve the erectile response to normal sexual stimulation.
  • Using external devices to help draw and hold extra blood in the penis. A natural way to draw extra blood into the penile tissue, penis pumps; such as the Bathmate Hydro Penis Pumps we reviewed last month, use the power of suction to create a pressure gradient, drawing extra blood into the penis to mimic a naturally occurring erection. Many men who experience erection issues can benefit from the use of stretchy rings, also known as cock rings, which sit snugly around the base of the penis to provide constriction, restricting the blood inside the erectile tissue from leaving the penis.
  • Addressing any psychological issues with the appropriate counselling or psychotherapy.

Bathmate Penis Pumps

Invasive Treatments:

  • Penile injections increase the blood flow to the penis temporarily, with the results taking effect 10-15 minutes after administration and lasting for up to one hour. One downfall of this treatment is that men must be shown by their doctor how to give themselves the injections and if done incorrectly could lead to a painful erection lasting for hours or even penile tissue damage.
  • Surgical treatments could possible include vascular surgery or even the insertion of a penile prosthetic implant, a device that enables erection through squeezing of a specific part of the device. This is usually only considered as a last resort of none of the other treatment options have helped.

Things To Remember:

As discussed above, most cases have a physical cause. Impotence may be a symptom of an underlying health problem, but sometimes there is no clear reason for the condition. It is important to consult with your doctor to find out the cause of erectile dysfunction in order to establish the best course of treatment. In addition to treating any underlying causes and improving your overall health, non-invasive treatments such as penis pumps and cock rings can be useful tools to help men overcome this common type of sexual dysfunction.

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About Author

As Editor in Chief of 'Health & Wellbeing Australia', Lucinda brings over 20 years experience in the Health Industry, with 14 years as a practicing, registered Physiotherapist; specializing in pelvic floor and erectile dysfunction issues, to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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