You had an off‑night. You weren’t in the mood. You lost momentum and power. These events do not necessarily mean you have ED. First of all, a loss of libido or just not being “in the mood” does not mean you have ED.
Erectile dysfunction presents with a certain set of criteria. Before you think you need a prescription, it’s important to understand the signs of erectile dysfunction, whether you have it, and the many options there are to treat it.
What is ED?
Sources indicate erectile dysfunction is the inability to develop and maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse or activity. Is doesn’t mean failing to “get it up” for one night or a couple nights.
It’s important to remember that ED involves issues with erections. It does not mean low testosterone or other sexual health issues such as premature ejaculation. It is all about the ability to send blood to the penis and keep it there long enough for intercourse. Symptoms of ED include trouble getting an erection, trouble keeping an erection, or reduced sexual desire.
In addition, according to sources, not all male sexual problems are caused by ED. There are other types of male sexual dysfunction that are not considered erectile dysfunction, including premature ejaculation, delayed or absent ejaculation, or lack of interest in sex.
Erectile dysfunction causes
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by psychological issues, including stress, anxiety, or relationship problems, or physical issues including cardiovascular disease, obesity, alcohol use, or smoking.
Erectile dysfunction is also often caused by a health issue. Accordingly, if you’re experiencing heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sleep disorders, or other health issues, your condition – or medications you take to treat it – could have an effect on your sexual performance.
Erectile dysfunction is prevalent and becoming increasingly common. Reports show ED rates have gone up during the last two to three decades, especially among younger men. One study found that one out of every four newly diagnosed men with ED is under 40 years old.
So, do you have it?
Evaluating these five signs will give you more insight as to whether what you’re experiencing is truly ED.
Consistency. Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection that’s firm enough for intercourse. This does not mean a bad performance “every once in a while.” For it to be considered ED, the inability to get an erection must happen at least 75% of the time.
Age. Advancing age is not a cause of ED; however, the older we get, the more common it is. More than 30 million American men have ED. Of them, sources show about 5% of them are 40 years old, whereas up to 25% of them are 65 years old. If you’re getting older, what you’re experiencing could be erectile dysfunction.
Prostate cancer treatment. If you’ve undergone treatment for prostate cancer, such as radiation therapy or a nerve‑sparing prostatectomy, or who have had other procedures in the pelvic area, it is likely that you’ll experience some degree of erectile dysfunction. This can last several months or even indefinitely depending on your diagnosis and the type of treatment. (Learn more about what to expect after prostate cancer.)
Your overall health. If you smoke or drink excessively, or are experiencing psychological issues such as stress, anxiety, guilt, or depression, your risk of ED increases. There are also medical issues that can cause ED, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight. If you’re experiencing ED symptoms, it could be an indicator of these other health issues.
Or, your ED could be a sign to evaluate your medications. Drugs for treating for blood pressure and cholesterol, along with steroids, antidepressants, and tranquilizers, are the cause of ED 20% of the time.
Relationships. Erectile dysfunction affects everyone differently, but – left untreated – it can have several negative complications. These issues can include an unsatisfactory sex life, stress or anxiety, low self‑esteem, and relationship problems. If you have difficulties achieving or sustaining an erection, you may find yourself avoiding sex, which erodes intimacy and creates resentment in your partner. It is common for partners to take your lack of interest personally, and feel unattractive and unloved.
What should you do?
An important step if you’re experiencing signs of erectile dysfunction is to talk to your doctor, who can help you determine the cause and present solutions. Your doctor can also make sure the ED is not a sign of more serious conditions such as high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, or diabetes.
To prepare for your doctor’s appointment, experts advise to be ready with this key information:
- What medications do you currently take, including over‑the‑counter meds, supplements, or vitamins?
- When did your symptoms start? Does it happen every time, and what circumstances has it happened?
- Are you experiencing stress or major changes at home or work?
Your doctor will ask about your medical history and whether you smoke, drink in excess, or use recreational drugs. The doctor will also likely do a physical exam to check your penis and prostate. Blood work may be ordered to check for diabetes or heart disease. From there, you can learn just what you’re dealing with and what you can do about it.
You can be confident that effective erectile dysfunction cures are available. Some solutions are medical, including surgery or implants, or taking an oral medication. These options may not be ideal for many men – they can be costly, have negative side effects, or conflict with other health issues. For many men, these options simply don’t work.
There are many natural remedies that do not require doctors’ appointments or come with medical side effects. Experts advise that basic changes in the way you live, move, and eat can have a big difference in sexual performance and in reducing erectile dysfunction:
- Start moving. Exercising regularly can have the biggest impact in that it improves blood flow and blood pressure.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. It’s been found that men who have a 42‑inch waist are 50% more likely to have ED than men with a 32‑inch waist.
- Get regular sleep. Poor sleep patterns can interfere with testosterone levels, which can affect your sex drive.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can cause vascular disease, which can affect blood supply throughout the body, including to the penis.
- Limit alcohol. Overindulging can cause both temporary and long‑term ED.
Trying vacuum therapy.
You can also find assistance in creating a natural, rigid erection by using vacuum therapy. A vacuum therapy device (or penis pump) is a non‑prescription, FDA‑approved, and powerful tool. Using one involves placing an acrylic penile tube over the penis. One end is placed against the base of the penis, and the other end is attached to a manual‑ or battery‑operated pump. The pump is used to draw air into the tube, creating a vacuum that draws blood into the penis. Once the erection is achieved, an elastic ring is placed around the base of the penis holding the erection in place.
Penis pumps like the ones sold through Rejoyn Medical are proven effective in 90% of clinical trials. It is an option preferred by many men because it is natural and drug free. There is also no waiting time for medications to “kick in.” Results are immediate, and the control of the erection is completely in the hands of the user. (See how it works!)
Erectile dysfunction is 100% common and 100% treatable. The first step is understanding the facts about erectile dysfunction, and then taking active steps to rebuild confidence and regain the life you love.
Learn more about the signs of erectile dysfunction by browsing our blogs, and if you're looking for a comprehensive resource on erectile dysfunction, check out our online guide, Everything You Need to Know About Erectile Dysfunction.