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A Quick Guide to Erectile Dysfunction

Popularly called impotence, erectile dysfunction is the partial or complete loss of the male organ’s ability to either achieve or maintain an erection that is long enough to engage in a sexual intercourse. This dysfunction begins with either a decline in the incidence of the patient’s typical erection, loss of ability to sustain a long erection, or the achievement of an erection but a quick return to flaccidness.

Men will always be embarrassed to talk about it, but the dysfunction in penile erection often involves 25% to 50% of the male population starting from 65 years old and often has organic or psychological causes. Common psychological causes are fatigue, anxiety, pressure to perform sexually, or depression. Organic causes on the other hand, roots from diseases or cases that may affect the physiologic function of the male organ. This may include endocrine disease, pituitary tumors, occlusive vascular disease, cirrhosis, testosterone deficiency, hematologic conditions, neurologic disorders, medications, drug abuse, and pelvic or genital traumatic injuries.

To properly diagnose erectile dysfunction, a thorough sexual and medical history needs to be assessed along with a neurologic examination and different laboratory studies. Reviewing medications taken, alcohol use and possible drug abuse are also often required. Psychological evaluations may also be carried out in some cases.

The cause of the patient’s organ malfunction will be the basis for its treatment. Nonsurgical therapy involves medicine intake, orally or by injection an hour prior to intercourse to help maintain sufficient erection. In some cases of secondary erectile dysfunction, it is important to treat the underlying condition first, like in the case of alcoholics, or adjusting medications that cause the dysfunction such as the maintenance medications for hypertension. In cases where nonsurgical treatments are not applicable, implant surgeries can be an option. The implant is either an inflatable or a rigid prosthesis that will assist in the erection process when needed. Prior to deciding which prosthesis to choose, the couple is recommended to undergo counseling, while the man should consider his typical activities daily to help him decide which type will fit his lifestyle.

If surgery is too much or medications have unpleasant side effects, one can opt to go with herbal treatments. Supplements made from ginseng are now popular in the market to treat erectile dysfunction as there have been reports of its effectivity. Acupuncture has also been known to treat some cases of male organ dysfunction, but since it is still considered an invasive procedure, one should consult with professionals who can always provide information about the causes of erectile dysfunction and recommended treatments.

A balanced lifestyle and a healthy body is still the best prevention. Lifestyle changes may help prevent or improve cases of erectile dysfunction. Quit smoking if you are a smoker, lose weight if you are overweight, do more physical activities, and stay away from drugs and alcohol. Penile dysfunction is mostly a lifestyle related disorder as it is not hereditary and is surely avoidable if one is careful enough about his health.


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