Erectile dysfunction or impotence is a sign of an underlying health condition
Erectile dysfunction or impotence is the inability to develop and maintain erection of the penis during coitus (sexual activity). Erectile dysfunction happens due to psychological (mental) and physical (body organs) causes. It involves a complex process with coordination of the central nervous system, psychological, hormonal and vascular components of the body. Life style changes viz. stopping smoking and drinking, and getting regular exercise are considered as primary for the prevention of erectile dysfunction.
Importantly, physical and psychological factors lead to erectile dysfunction. Diseases of the heart, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, tobacco and alcohol consumption and cancer may cause erectile dysfunction. Also, depression, and relationship problems may cause erectile dysfunction.
The symptoms of erectile dysfunction include trouble to get and keep erection, reduced sexual desire, and premature or delayed ejaculation.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
Majorly, diabetes, heart disease and cancer pose risk and contribute to erectile dysfunction. Obesity, injuries, psychological conditions and medications may also pose the risk of having erectile dysfunction. The complications are many and take their toll on healthy human relationships. The fallout of erectile dysfunction is evident as unsatisfactory sexual life, stress or anxiety, low self-esteem, and relationship problems.
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
The doctor may ask questions about the symptoms and look for underlying causes of erectile dysfunction. The doctor may study the medical history of the patient for diabetes, heart diseases and cancer. To confirm the occurrence of erectile dysfunction, certain tests may be recommended. Blood tests look for signs of diabetes and heart disease. Urine tests help to find sugar level in the blood. Ultrasound helps to identify the blood flow problems. The erection test helps the doctor to study the number of erections during sleep at night.
Erectile dysfunction can be prevented by adopting the right lifestyle, which includes avoiding junk food, smoking and alcohol; taking fiber rich food, fruits and vegetables; and doing exercise regularly. The standard treatments for erectile dysfunction include medications (tablets and injections), penis pumps, surgery and implants. A psychologist or counsellor helps in the treatment of erectile dysfunction caused by stress, depression and anxiety.