An estimated 30 million American men suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), making it difficult or impossible for them to have intercourse.
It is a condition that impacts the patient’s mental well-being as well as his physical health. Many feel helpless and embarrassed. And while it can be devastating to those directly affected, it can be similarly so for their partners who may feel isolated, undesirable or even to blame.
But help can be just a doctor visit away.
A physical examination, including sexual history and a psychosocial evaluation to determine stress levels, is the first step to diagnosing not just what is happening, or not happening, but why.
Despite the seemingly simple process, much goes into the action of achieving an erection — nerves in the brain send chemical messages to the blood vessels causing blood to flow to the penis. If everything goes as planned, the penis will rise to the occasion.
But occasionally, things do not go as planned. Physical causes stem from a breakdown in the sequence of events that leads to an erection, usually from low blood flow in the erectile tissue, but also from impaired nerve impulses sent from the brain. Some diseases that can also cause ED include diabetes, kidney disease, vascular disease, neurological diseases and prostate cancer.
Additionally, about 25 percent of ED cases can be attributed to medications for other conditions.
While it is true that ED is most typically associated with older men, the disease is affecting an increasing number of younger men, many in their 20s and 30s.
The good news is that a variety of treatments – from medication to surgery – are available and the physicians at The Urology Group can help determine which one is most appropriate for each patient.
Many couples are dealing with erectile dysfunction. If you are one of them, talk to your doctor, find the plan that is right for you and get your love life back on track.