With all the hype, discussion and the advertisement for treatments, it’s common to have some overall questions about ED. What is erectile dysfunction? What exactly does it mean? And, importantly, what can be done about it?
Here, we provide an overview of everything you need to know about erectile dysfunction, so you can understand the issue and start finding solutions.
Erectile dysfunction is an inability to achieve and maintain an erection hard enough or long enough to have sex. If you have an off-night now and then, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have ED. For it to be considered ED it must be a consistent, ongoing issue that may be affecting your self-confidence or your relationships.
It’s also important to remember that ED is strictly about the penis and your ability to get an erection. Low sex drive or low testosterone are also common sexual health issues, but they are not the same as erectile dysfunction.
If you think you have ED, it’s important to see a doctor to find out for sure. Not knowing can add to stress that may be causing performance issues in the first place. And, a doctor can address whether you have any underlying health issues that may be associated with ED such as heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes or obesity. The health of your penis is a great indicator of your overall health.
Causes of ED.
There are multiple reasons erectile dysfunction happens, and causes can be physical or psychological. Experts advise that physical causes can include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, or MS
It can also be the result of alcoholism, sleep disorders, smoking, or prostate cancer treatment.
Psychological causes can include depression, stress, or anxiety, which can stem from life’s demands or from your relationship itself.
The question that typically comes after “What is erectile dysfunction?” is “What can be done about it?” The answer, fortunately, is plenty.
For starters, it’s important to recognize that the go-to solution many men have heard of are the ones most often advertised—the little blue pills. Indeed, medications such as Viagra and Cialis can increase blood flow to the penis. However, these drugs are not always advised. Often, they cannot be prescribed if you have certain health issues. And for many men, they simply don’t work.
The good news is that there are alternatives. Making lifestyle changes, improving your health and tackling stress can all go far. This includes getting down to a healthy weight, exercising regularly and managing your vascular health. There are also penis exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor and promote blood flow. Sources site other solutions including:
- Herbal supplements including Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, DHEA, and L-arginine
- A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish – with fewer red and processed meat
An alternative ED treatment many men prefer because it is all-natural and doesn’t require a doctor’s appointment or prescription—as in the case of oral ED drugs—is vacuum therapy. A vacuum therapy device is a non-medical way to achieve erections. It uses a vacuum suction via a tube to draw blood into the penis. Once an erection is achieved, a support ring is secured to the base of the penis, holding the erection in place. This treatment option is becoming more and more popular because results are immediate and there is no wait time wondering whether the solution will work. Further, a pump can be used with your partner or on your own to keep blood flowing to the penis.
Understanding what is erectile dysfunction can indeed be a confusing and stress-inducing question. But it’s not uncommon and there are solutions. Browse our blogs to learn more.
if you're looking for a comprehensive resource on erectile dysfunction, check out our online guide, Everything You Need to Know About Erectile Dysfunction.