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Erectile Dysfunction: Causes and Treatment

Erectile dysfunction (ED), sometimes referred to as impotence, is the inability of a man to achieve an erection or sustain it for a length of time sufficient for a satisfying sexual encounter. It is not the same as ejaculatory dysfunction, decreased libido or other issues than men encounter involving difficulties with sexual intercourse. This disorder is common, with experts estimating that 30 million men in the United States are affected by it. The majority of men who are at least 45 years old have experienced erectile dysfunction at some point.

What are the causes of erectile dysfunction?

There are a wide range of potential causes. It is common for men to have a problem sustaining an erection as they get older. It has also been seen frequently in men who smoke cigarettes on a regular basis. If a man has suffered an injury to his spinal cord or nerves, this may directly impact his ability to become erect. Depression is another common cause, especially if the man is on antidepressant medication that suppresses his sexual urges. Men who abuse drugs or alcohol frequently have difficulties when it comes to getting an erection. This also goes for men who suffer from low levels of testosterone, depression, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol.

What are the treatment methods available for erectile dysfunction?

Fortunately, erectile dysfunction is able to be treated, no matter how old the man is. If the man is overweight and a frequent smoker, treating the problem could be as simple as making changes in his lifestyle. There is a good chance quitting smoking and losing weight will solve the problem. There are also several drugs currently available that are specially designed for this issue. These drugs are Viagara, Cialis, Levitra and Stendra. All of these drugs require a prescription from a doctor.

Additional treatment methods

More troublesome cases may require less common methods of treatment. ED can potentially be cured with the insertion of medication into the urethra. This medication is an intraurethral suppository known as MUSE. It is currently the only non-injectable localized drug therapy for erectile dysfunction that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Medications can also be injected into the corpora cavernosae. These are known as intracavernosal injections. An external pump with a band on it, known as a vacuum constrictive device, can be attached to the end of a man's penis to help him achieve and sustain an erection. A penile prostheses and standard psychotherapy are two other options for ED sufferers.

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The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.