Almost all men, at some point in their life, will experience erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is when a man cannot get an erection suitable for sexual intercourse, either because it is not firm enough, does not last long enough, or does not happen at all. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study reported that about 40 percent of men are affected by ED at age 40, going up to 70 percent by age 70.
If you experience erectile dysfunction, you should talk to your doctor. Though erectile dysfunction occurring less than 20 percent of the time rarely requires medical treatment, failure to achieve erection more than 50 percent of the time often indicates a problem.
Many diseases can cause erectile dysfunction, including vascular disease such as high cholesterol, neurological disorders and kidney disease. ED could also be caused by psychological issues, medication or lifestyle. An examination from your doctor can make sure that ED is not a sign of something more serious.
Regardless of what the cause is, there are always treatment options for erectile dysfunction. There are several types of medication that can be taken orally or injected directly into the base of the penis, as well as surgical implants, natural medicines and vacuum therapy devices.
Visit Your Doctor
Your doctor can help you determine the best way to treat erectile dysfunction. Often, by treating the underlying cause, the erectile dysfunction will go away on its own.
When making the appointment with your doctor, be sure to ask if there is anything you need to do ahead of time to prepare. They may want to run some blood tests, for example, which may require fasting.
Prepare a list of any medications you are currently taking. Many prescription medicines have erectile dysfunction as a possible side effect. Even if this is not the case, other conditions can make ED medications ineffective or dangerous to take. Nitrate medications to treat heart problems, for example, can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure when combined with ED medication.
Your doctor can recommend a treatment that is safe to take with your existing medications. They may also recommend a lower dosage or alternate medication if it is determined that the erectile dysfunction is being caused as a side effect of the medication.
You should also note any personal information that may be relevant, such as if you are suddenly undergoing more stress at work or having feelings of anxiety. Erectile dysfunction is often caused by psychological issues. If this is the case, your doctor may be able to recommend an appropriate counselor.
Questions to Ask
Prepare a list of questions for your doctor ahead of time. These questions may include:
- Will the erectile dysfunction be long-term or temporary?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach being suggested?
- What are the possible side effects of the treatments being suggested?
- Will insurance cover all or part of the cost of the treatments?
- What lifestyle changes could I make to help the treatment process?
Talk to Your Partner
One of the most important things to remember throughout the process is to communicate with your partner. Despite the fact that most men experience erectile dysfunction, it can still cause feelings of stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and guilt. These feelings can lead to men drawing away from their partner and avoiding sexual situations, causing a breakdown in the relationship.
Remember to be open and honest with your partner about what you are experiencing. It may be a good idea to bring your partner with you when you talk to your doctor so that they can be a part of the discussion. Ask them about their opinion on possible treatments, and maintain communication throughout the treatment process.
Even with treatment, it may be necessary to redefine intimacy. By exploring ways to incorporate treatment, as well as alternative ways to give your partner pleasure, relationships can see a dramatic improvement.