Erectile dysfunction types, symptoms, and treatment
Erectile dysfunction (ED), previously known as impotence, is an inability to achieve and preserve strong enough erection for intercourse.
Millions of men encounter this problem but only some of them seek the solution while it is quite attainable.
The problem is that for the majority of men it seems embarrassing to tell their partner and/or a doctor about their sexual inability as they see it as a weakness. But if they learn deep roots of ED, they would understand that there is nothing to be ashamed of as it is just a symptom of unfavorable processes in the body. And as any symptom, ED requires the identification of the cause and its elimination. Or, if it is impossible to cope with an underlying reason, at least use symptomatic treatment. For instance, people who have an allergy and cannot completely avoid exposure to allergens take antihistamines, i.e. drugs that suppress the allergic response. It is the same with erectile dysfunction – if you cannot solve the underlying cause, for instance, impaired blood circulation in the pelvic area, you can use drugs that improve it and allow getting an erection. Such drugs for ED are Tadalafil (Cialis), Sildenafil (Viagra), and others.
What can cause erectile dysfunction?
The majority of people believe that erectile dysfunction or impotence is directly related to a man’s age. But it is not true. Even young men can develop ED if there are certain conditions that cause it. However, older men indeed face the problem more often but not just because of the age but the accumulated, frequently untreated, chronic health conditions, bad habits, and in general improper lifestyle.
The causes of ED can be divided into two groups – organic and psychogenic.
Organic causes are those caused by underlying conditions (for instance, diabetes, high cholesterol), injuries, tumors, dysfunction of thyroid, pancreas, sedentary lifestyle, and as a result pinched nerves, the use of medications that suppress the central nervous system reaction, and so on.
Psychogenic causes are any kids of mental disorders and stress, for instance, it can be chronic depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, and others.
You may not know even if you have any conditions that can cause ED but you can check the symptoms of ED that are different in different causes of the condition:
What can you do to cope with ED?
First of all, you need to identify whether your ED is organic or psychogenic. If it is hard for you to do so, you should go to a physician and tell about your problem. A doctor should appoint the tests that he or she thinks would help identify the underlying condition. Then, you should aim at eliminating the cause of erectile dysfunction.
For instance, if it occurs as a result of such diseases as diabetes, thyroid gland dysfunction, you should focus on treating these conditions. If ED is related to an injury, you need to take measures to recover, for instance, observe bed rest or go for an operation.
Worth noting that for younger men the most common cause of ED is psychogenic. Thus, it is reasonable to seek help from a psychologist or psychiatrist if your general blood test, ultrasound, etc. show that your main body systems are in the norm.
Besides, to prevent and even treat ED certain lifestyle changes are recommended:
- Do physical exercises especially if your work makes you sit all day at a desk;
- Chose healthy food as a basis for your diet;
- Limit consumption of alcohol;
- Quit smoking;
- Do not take any drugs without a prescription or consulting your doctor first;
- Treat all health conditions timely.
The more specific treatment methods for ED are:
- Use of erection-enhancing drugs. - Surgery on the penis vessels.
- Use of vacuum pumps to obtain an erection.
- Injections of vasodilating medicines in the penis.
- Penis prosthesis.
Obviously, from all of these options, the use of erectile dysfunction medicines is the most affordable and non-invasive. See the explanation of how they work and their comparison below.
ED medicines: how they act and what to choose?
There are three substances used for ED: Sildenafil, Tadalafil, and Vardenafil. These are the substances with proven effectiveness and safety for use. They are the basis for the three major ED medicines Viagra (Sildenafil), Cialis (Tadalafil), and Levitra (Vardenafil). The generic versions of these medications are based on the same substances because there are no other formulations with the same effects available today.
The mechanism of all three substances is the same – they inhibit a certain enzyme (PDE5) that doesn’t allow smooth muscles in the penis to relax. When the enzyme is suppressed, the smooth muscles relax which allows vessels to expand. As the blood freely inflows to the penis, it naturally becomes erect.
The effect of the medications lasts enough for at least one intercourse but in the majority of cases, even several. It doesn’t mean that penis is erect during the whole time the pill is active. It becomes flaccid after ejaculation but can become erect again after some time when stimulated.
You may wonder whether these drugs influence other blood vessels in the body. The answer is “no”. In fact, they were initially tested for heart and lung diseases but their effect was so insignificant that they are not used for any other conditions than erectile dysfunction. Why it is so? The smooth muscles in the body differ in their density, structure, and other parameters even though they are in the same group. This makes it possible for PDE5 inhibitors to be active only for the relaxation of pelvis muscles and promoting erection without affecting other body systems.
How ED pills should be used?
The dosages and forms differ but in general, whatever ED drug you chose, it is used around 40-60 minutes before anticipated intercourse. This time is needed for a pill to dissolve and start rendering the effect.
However, there are some formulations that allow having sex in just 15 minutes. These are usually faster-dissolved forms such as jelly or soft chewable tablets. At our online drugstore, you can find a variety of such products in the Men’s health section.