Men’s Health

“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.”

- Spanish Proverb

What is erectile dysfunction?

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Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is the inability to achieve and/or maintain an erection for sexual penetration. It can occur at any age, but mostly affects older men.

Having trouble getting an erection every once in a while is considered normal. Ongoing episodes, however, are problematic and may lead to stress, lowered confidence levels, and relationship problems.

A number of factors, both physical and psychological, can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Physical causes include damage to the blood vessels, nerves and surrounding tissues of the penis – often as a result of an underlying condition (e.g. diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis and/or atherosclerosis). Other physical causes include injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord, substance abuse, low testosterone levels, using certain medications, and ageing.

Psychological factors include depression, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem.

In most cases, however, a combination of physical and psychological factors is at play.

Erectile dysfunction can be prevented by making healthier lifestyle choices: lose excess weight, exercise regularly, smoke less, and limit your alcohol intake. It’s also important to manage existing health conditions, to go for regular check-ups, and to get help for mental health concerns.

Erectile dysfunction is nothing to be ashamed of. If you suspect that you’re affected, it’s important to get a diagnosis from your doctor – the exact cause can then be identified and you can be treated successfully. Not only will this be good for you; your partner will benefit too. 

(The purpose of this article is to provide general background information and not to substitute any medical diagnosis or advice received from a qualified healthcare professional.)

References:

– Causes of ED. Health24. Last updated: 7 July 2014. [Online] Available at: http://www.health24.com/Medical/Erectile-dysfunction/Overview/Causes-of-ED-20140512. Accessed: 12 August 2015

– What is ED? Heath24.com. Last updated: 7 July 2014. [Online] Available at: http://www.health24.com/Medical/Erectile-dysfunction/Overview/What-is-erectile-dysfunction-20140515. Accessed: 11 August 2015

– Mayo Clinic Staff. Erectile dysfunction: Preparing for your appointment. Mayo Clinic. Last updated: 27 May 2015. [Online] Available at:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/basics/preparing-for-your-appointment/con-20034244. Accessed: 11 August 2015

  Erectile Dysfunction (ED, Impotence). MedincineNet.com. Last updated: 23 April 2015. [Online] Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/erectile_dysfunction_ed_impotence/article.htm#what_is_erectile_dysfunction_ed. Accessed: 11 August 2015

– Erectile dysfunction (impotence). NHS Choices. 9 September 2014. [Online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Erectile-dysfunction/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Accessed: 11 August 2015

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