Erectile dysfunction (ED)

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. It can have various causes, both physical and psychological. Seeking medical advice is crucial for effective treatment.

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Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough throughout sexual activity.

How many men have ED?

It affects about 30 million men in the United States. Although ED is very common, it is not a normal part of aging; talk with your health care professional about treatment.

What kind of symptoms?

  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Trouble keeping an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire

What are the causes?

  • Heart disease
  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Certain prescription medications
  • Tobacco use
  • Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
  • Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
  • Sleep disorders
  • Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
  • Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
  • Low testosterone

The main causes of erectile dysfunction

  • Depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions
  • Stress
  • Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication, or other concerns

What are the investigations (tests) required for erectile dysfunction?

  • In making a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction (ED), your doctor will start by taking a detailed medical and psychosexual history and will conduct a thorough physical examination.
  • Blood and urine test
  • We sometimes need radiologic investigations as Penile Doppler ultrasound.

Interviewing your partner also is very helpful in obtaining an accurate history, if possible.

How can we treat erectile dysfunction?

How can we treat erectile dysfunction?

  • Stress reduction
  • Smoking cessation
  • Alcohol reduction
  • A balanced diet
  • Physical activity
  • Good quality sleep each night
  • Weight loss
  • Psychotherapy
  • Sex therapy or couples counseling

What if natural ED treatments don’t work?

Depending on the cause of your ED, natural remedies may not be effective. If this is the case, your doctor may prescribe medications, injections, or, if needed, an operation for ED.

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