Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to obtain or maintain an erection. Although it is not uncommon for men to have difficulty getting or keeping an erection at times, ongoing impotence may be a sign of an underlying problem.
Under normal circumstances, erections occur spontaneously when a man becomes aroused. The brain sends signals to the nerves in the penis, causing the muscles to relax. When the muscles relax, blood flows into the penis and it becomes erect. Diseases, medical conditions, or lifestyle issues that affect the brain, the nerves, or blood flow to the penis can lead to erectile dysfunction. Diseases or conditions that can lead to erectile dysfunction may include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Heart disease
- Prostate cancer
- Peyronie’s disease
- Low testosterone
- Enlarged prostate
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- Metabolic syndrome
- Venous leak
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Drug use
It is estimated that erectile dysfunction affects as many as 30 million men in the United States. Although it is most common in older men (over the age of 65), it can happen at any age.
Symptoms of ED may include:
- The inability to obtain an erection
- The inability to maintain an erection
Some men may also experience a decrease in sexual desire.
Not all men with erectile dysfunction will experience all ED symptoms. Your symptoms will depend on the cause of your erectile dysfunction.
Options for ED Treatment
Fortunately, ED is often treatable. However, your ED Treatment Options will depend on the cause and the extent of your impotence. If your ED is caused by lifestyle issues, such as smoking, alcohol abuse, or obesity, your treatment will focus on correcting those issues. If you have a physical disease or condition that is causing your erectile dysfunction, you will need to be treated for the disease or condition that is causing the ED, in addition to receiving erectile dysfunction treatment.
Options for ED treatment range from oral medications (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra) to penile implant surgery. Less invasive treatments are usually the first course of action; other ED treatment options are considered if the less invasive treatments are not effective.
The links below will give you an overview of your ED treatment options:
Penile Injection Therapy: medication injected directly into the penis
Blood Vessel Surgery: surgery to repair the blood vessels to the penis
Penile Implant (Penile Prosthesis): a semi-rigid or inflatable device that is surgically implanted in the penis and scrotum
Other ED Treatments: penis pumps, neutraceuticals, MUSE (intraurethral agents)
Erectile dysfunction is sometimes caused by psychological or emotional issues (e.g., stress, performance anxiety, depression), rather than physical issues. If your impotence has a psychological cause, you may need to be referred to a psychologist for counseling.
For more information on ED treatment options, contact Dr. Leroy Jones, urologist, of San Antonio.