Erectile dysfunction, also popularly known as male impotence, is the difficulty in having or maintaining an erection that allows satisfactory sexual intercourse, in at least 50% of the attempts.
This problem can occur in men of any age and is often related to habits, such as drug use, smoking, and excessive stress. Although the dysfunction is often related to aging, many older men have never had erection problems and, therefore, age is only considered a risk factor, not necessarily a cause.
To make the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction it is very important to see a urologist, who will evaluate the man’s health history and order some tests. After the diagnosis is confirmed, the treatment that can vary from one man to another is started, but it usually includes the use of some medication, such as Sildenafil or Alprostadil, as well as psychological for example.
The main symptom indicative of erectile dysfunction is difficulty getting or keeping an erection. However, other symptoms may also arise such as:
– Less rigid and more flaccid erection;
– Greater need for concentration and time to achieve erection;
– Reduced sexual interest;
– Rapid or premature ejaculation.
In addition, there are cases when a man can have an erection, but not during sexual intercourse, and therefore, although he can have an erection, it can mean that he suffers from erectile dysfunction.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis should be made by the urologist based on the signs and symptoms presented by the person. In addition, at the time of evaluation, the doctor must take into consideration clinical, sexual, and psychological history in order to reach a diagnostic conclusion. In addition, laboratory tests may be requested in order to verify if the erectile dysfunction may be related to hormonal alterations.
Main causes of erectile dysfunction
Some of the most common causes that lead to erectile dysfunction problems include:
– Drug use;
– Overuse of certain medications such as antihypertensives, antidepressants, and antipsychotics for example;
– Psychological problems such as depression, trauma, fear, dissatisfaction, or decreased libido;
In addition, some chronic diseases, such as kidney failure or diabetes, can also affect blood circulation and facilitate the appearance of erectile dysfunction.
How the treatment is done
Erectile dysfunction can be treated in different ways because the treatment depends on the cause, but some of the most commonly used treatments include:
-Drugs such as sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil;
-Hormone replacement therapy in capsules, patches, or injections to increase testosterone levels and promote testosterone;
– Surgery to implant penile prostheses which are used only as a last resort only when all other treatments have been unsuccessful.
In addition to the above treatments, counseling with a psychologist or psychiatrist and couple’s therapy are also very important, because they help to treat other problems, fears and insecurities that may exist and that are also contributing to the problem. Psychotherapy is also indicated in these cases to help treat stress, anxiety, and depression.