In 1999, American researchers found that in 1995 there were over 152 million men with erectile dysfunction worldwide. They predicted an increase in the number of men with this problem to 322 million by 2025. This health problem is getting more widespread among young generation and becomes chronic more often.
What causes long-term erectile dysfunction, and how to treat it? This definitive guide is here to help you.
What causes Erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is usually divided into psychological (psychogenic), organic and mixed. Until recently, it was believed that the disorder in most cases has a psychogenic nature, but today it has already been established that about 80% of cases are organic problems — erectile dysfunction is a common symptom of many chronic somatic and mental illnesses. Lifestyle risk factors — smoking, drug use, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity — contribute to its development.
External causes of the development of erectile dysfunction include:
- Smoking is one of the most significant factors that have a very negative effect on erectile function.
- Alcohol, especially “beer alcoholism”, drug addiction.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic lack of sleep, constant stressful situations at work and in family relationships.
- Environmental factors: unbalanced irrational nutrition, food depleted in vitamins and microelements, GMO (genetically modified foods).
- Increased background radiation, work under high-frequency radiation.
- Psychological problems, stress during the period of man’s maturation and the formation of his sexuality.
The most important factors of sexual behavior are formed in childhood, when a boy observes the system of actions of older men in the family and then follows the path of either imitating the learned models or denying them. This period becomes traumatic for some boys: this is where the origins of youthful self-doubt and timidity take place, fears of “being underestimated”, “not making the expected impression” are often formed. Over time, they can take root and transform into psychological complexes or phobias, having a certain impact on the man’s entire life.
Learn more about psychological (psychogenic) causes of Erectile dysfunction:
Internal causes of the development of erectile dysfunction:
- Hormonal regulation disorders: hypogonadism (insufficient testosterone production by the testes), a number of diseases associated with dysfunction of the pituitary and adrenal glands, some tumors (for example, pituitary adenoma).
- Side effects of various medications (some antihypertensive and antiarrhythmic drugs, corticosteroids, psychotropic drugs and antidepressants, etc.).
- Age-related and acquired changes in the tissue and structures of the penis involved in the mechanism of erection.
- Neurological diseases and disorders (epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, trauma and operations of the brain and spinal cord, pelvis and perineum).
- Diseases of the cardiovascular system (hypertension, atherosclerosis, etc.).
- Diabetes mellitus, obesity, metabolic syndrome.
The above list contains only the most common causes underlying the development of dysfunction or diseases, the symptom of which is a deterioration in the quality of erection.
Every man who suspects impotence must undergo a thorough examination. The doctor will measure the testicles. If their volume is less than normal, this indicates a lack of male hormones. This is also indicated by incorrect growth and location of pubic hair, as well as their absence. In order to identify changes and hypotrophy of the penis.
Most doctors use the following research methods for erectile dysfunction:
- Vasoactive test. This study consists in the use of drugs in a test dosage that increase blood flow to the corpora cavernosa of the penis and allows to assess the blood supply in the vessels of the penis.
- Doppler ultrasonography of the penis (determination of the blood flow rate in the vessels of the penis). A normal erection that occurs within 15 minutes indicates good arterial — venous blood flow. Another simple way to assess the blood supply is to measure the blood pressure in the penis (using a special pressure cuff and Doppler analyzer). Professionals can use many other safe methods, based primarily on the use of ultrasound, which provide useful information about blood circulation, but rarely reveal minor disturbances.
- Determination of hormonal state and blood glucose level. Of all the possible blood tests, most abnormalities are detected by a sugar test, since even early diabetes can cause impotence.
- Ultrasound examination of the genitourinary organs: bladder, prostate, scrotal organs — to exclude inflammatory diseases.
Diagnosis should be performed in advanced facilities with use of the latest technologies. Timely diagnosing helps to achieve better treatment results, as is displayed in the health outcomes relayed by the Rockwood Clinic platform comparing the results in patients who subscribed to their ED drug delivery at different stages of their disease. Men who got diagnosed earlier and started receiving their erectogenic pills regularly at the first sign of trouble reported better therapy satisfaction to the pharmacists of the service during follow-up consultations.
How to treat ED that lasts long
The way to correct erectile dysfunction depends on the cause of the disease, the patient’s age and the state of other organs. With organic etiology of impotence, the doctor first of all prescribes surgical or therapeutic treatment. In this case, further prognosis depends on the severity of the primary disease.
The most common treatment for impotence is medication therapy. There are meds for short-term stimulation of erection and systemic therapy. Medicines help only in 30% of cases, so this method of correction is not suitable for all patients.
What do doctors usually prescribe?
- testosterone replacement therapy;
- selective PDE5 inhibitors, which enhance the relaxing effect of nitric oxide in the presence of sexual stimulation;
- injection of medications into the penis;
- medicinal products based on herbal ingredients.
Surgical treatments are usually aimed at increasing arterial blood flow to the penis and decreasing venous return. These treatments are helpful only in the presence of a specific vascular pathology.
Other alternative correction methods include:
- the use of vacuum devices for enhanced blood flow;
- implantation of plastic or hydraulic prostheses in the penis;
- lifestyle change.
If you have decided to deal with ED problems, visit your therapist and other related specialists. Treatment can only be selected by an experienced doctor after a thorough examination. It should be borne in mind that many drugs for stimulating erection have a general effect on the cardiovascular system, so the patient must first study the possible side effects of each therapy.
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