What causes erectile dysfunction and how is it treated?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem for men over 60 as it is reported by 15%. However, taking into account that not many men chose to be sexually active at this age or willing to report sexual dysfunction, the numbers are clearly higher.
Many people still think that develops only after the age of 50 or 60, but in reality, more and more younger men have to deal with it. Officially, around 5% of men around 40 suffer from ED. However, the causes of ED can greatly vary and in younger men, they tend to be quite different from those of men over 60 or 70 years of age.
What causes ED?
Among men, there is a frequent misconception that ED develops with age. But it is not quite so. The dysfunction indeed has more chances to occur when a man gets older but it is related not to the age but the accumulation of poor lifestyle and consequent health problems. The factors that deteriorate the overall health and can contribute to ED development are alcohol abuse, tobacco smoking, sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, lack of physical exercise, etc.
The older is the man, the more likely he is to develop chronic conditions not directly related to the sexual function but that require long-term or lifelong use of medical drugs. And many drugs have a negative impact on potency while having different mechanisms of effect on it. More frequently, ED occurs as a result of the use of medicines that suppress the central nervous system, for instance, antipsychotics, tranquilizers, some antidepressants, many blood pressure-lowering drugs, first-generation antihistamines (diphenhydramine, clemastine, etc.).
Generally, the causes of ED can be divided into two groups – organic and psychological. Older men are more likely to develop organic dysfunction or a combined form but younger men frequently suffer from psychologically-induced ED.
Organic ED is the development of sexual impotence due to the presence of different diseases, for instance, endocrine disorders such as diabetes, underactive or overactive thyroid, hormonal imbalance (for instance, low testosterone due to pituitary gland dysfunction), brain or spine trauma, trauma of the pelvic, vascular diseases, and so on. Sexual dysfunction that occurs as a result of various medicines use is also considered organic.
Psychological or psychogenic ED can occur as a result of untreated depression, generalized anxiety, affective bipolar disorder, and other mental disorders, chronic stress, and so on. For younger men, this is the most common type of ED so if a man younger or around 40 years of age suffers from sexual dysfunctions, it is reasonable for him to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist before undergoing the tests for the organic ED.
You can check your symptoms using this table and see what kind of ED you most likely have
How can be ED prevented?
- Live a healthy lifestyle – eat more vegetables and lean meat over fast food and sugar, workout at least thrice a week, quit smoking and abusing alcohol, get regularly tested and treat diseases timely;
- Do not use medicines that can cause ED, if they are vital, consult your doctor on how to minimize adverse effects;
- Do not let your penis be erected for an extended time;
- Go to a doctor if you are injured in the pelvic area, perineum, if you have surgery on the pelvis, if you are sick with diabetes or hypertension.
How can be ED treated?
- For men around 40 years of age, it is highly recommended to go to a psychiatrist or psychologist;
- Erectile dysfunction drugs such as Tadalafil (Cialis) used before intercourse (you can find the instruction on how to use on the product page);
- Implement lifestyle changes listed in the “Prevention” section.
- Use vacuum devices for an erection achievement before intercourse.
In case none of the regular non-invasive methods work, you can go for the surgery on the blood vessels of the penis if there are no other reasons for ED. Or you can opt for penile prosthesis. However, these are invasive procedures that may or may not have positive results.
The optimal solution for ED is a combination of a healthy lifestyle, psychotherapy, and the use of erectile dysfunction drugs before intercourse. These drugs are safe to use in 95% of men as they affect the blood flow only in the genitals area and do not interfere with heart vessels function. However, there are still some contraindications for use, for instance, severe heart diseases, use of nitrate medications (they are incompatible), intolerance of the drug, and some other conditions. You can see the whole list on the product page.