The Hard Facts on Erectile Dysfunction

ReliefSeeker
Author: Trivesh Vassen

Did you know that Erectile Dysfunction (ED), or previously known as impotence affects 30 million men in the U.S.? And, to add insult to injury, close to 90% of those men are too embarrassed to seek treatment, which can often lead to those men to experience feelings of low self-esteem, or even develop depression. Read on to learn more about the hard facts of ED. What causes it, the symptoms to look for, and how to treat it. 

Quick Facts About Erectile Dysfunction

  • You aren’t alone!

  • ED is most common among older men but can start to affect men as young as 30

  • There are many treatment options for ED

  • Many Online Doctors and Digital Clinics can provide you with ED treatment and medication at a fraction of what your primary care doctor offers. And all from the comfort of your own home

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Bluntly put, Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse.

While most men would deny it, studies have shown ¾ of all men have been unable to achieve an erection at some point. However, ED is only an issue when it occurs more often than not. It could be a sign of underlying health conditions, mental health issues, or relationship issues that require a trusted medical professional’s assistance.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

There are countless possible reasons a man might suffer from ED, both physical and emotional. The most common causes include:

  • Damaged or non-functioning nerves caused by injuries

  • Damage to the heart and blood vessels

  • Hypertension

  • Obesity

  • Over tiredness and fatigue

  • Surgery involving the prostate gland

  • Stress/Anxiety/Depression

  • Consistent and excessive use of illicit drugs, alcohol, and/or tobacco

  • Certain prescribed prescription medications. Including some of those used to deal with diabetes and high blood pressure

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

You may have ED if you regularly have:

  • Trouble getting an erection

  • Difficulty maintaining an erection during sexual activities

  • Reduced interest in sex (although, this could also be associated with low testosterone or low sex drive)

How Do I Know if I Have Erectile Dysfunction?

If you’re currently suffering from one of the above symptoms, you may have ED, but to be 100% sure, you will want to reach out to your primary care provider or online doctor to further discuss your symptoms. A few ways that will help you find out if you have ED, include:

Physical Exam

A physical will be done in-person by a medical doctor who will take your vitals (weight, height, BP) by listening to your heart and lungs. Since ED can be caused by underlying medical conditions, your doctor will want to rule out anything else you might be dealing with. They will also take your blood pressure and physically examine your testicles and penis to make sure everything looks A-OK below the belt. In certain instances, they may even perform a rectal exam to check your prostate.

Talk to an Online Doctor

With so many technological advancements happening in the telehealth sector of healthcare, there are many online doctor platforms, and digital clinics that offer people a way to connect to board-certified doctors for just about any condition or symptom, including ED! Providers such as K Health, Roman, and Vault Health all offer online consultations that can help you determine if you’re suffering from ED. The doctors on these platforms provide virtual appointments and can be done from the comfort of your own home, the beach, or anywhere there is an internet connection.

Psychological Evaluation

Because ED can be both physical and mental, a psychologist, psychiatrist, or online therapist will ask you questions about your overall health, sexual health, family history, and any symptoms you’re experiencing. The answers to these will help them to decide if you suffer from ED and just how severe your particular case of ED may be. In some cases, ED can be caused by past traumatic experiences, substance abuse, or depression. For example, if you suffer from anxiety or PTSD, you may not have ED at all and, in this case, will want to talk to your therapist about treating your mental health concern before treating ED. 

At-Home-Test-Kits

If there’s anything we learned in 2020 while spending most of the year sheltering-in-place because of COVID-19, it’s that we can basically do everything we need to from home. This includes ordering lab-quality tests that you can do yourself, privately from home. At-home-test-kits are able to measure anything from thyroid issues, diabetes, and testosterone levels. Companies like Vessel Health and EverlyWell offer many comprehensive tests that, when shared with your doctor, can help you determine if you have ED.  

Other Ways to Test For ED

  • Ultrasound 

    • Your doctor can use an ultrasound to examine the blood vessels of the penis to determine if blood is actively flowing to your nether regions. 

  • Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) 

    • This test is performed at home while you sleep. You will be asked to wear a portable, battery-powered device, which will record and evaluate the quantity and quality of erections you have while asleep.

  • Injection test 

    • A doctor will inject a medication directly into your penis that stimulates an erection, allowing them to evaluate the strength and stamina of your erections.

Treatments For Erectile Dysfunction

ED Medications (ED Pills)

Your doctor may prescribe medication to help you manage the symptoms of ED. You may need to try several medicines before you find one that works. The following oral medications stimulate blood flow to your penis to help treat ED:

Erectile dysfunction prescriptions can be costly if you go through your primary care doctor. Instead, we suggest that you look at our pre-vetted and reviewed list of online doctors that will be able to help you navigate the best treatment options. 

One online doctor provider that we highly recommend for the best prices and unbeatable service is K Health. The board-certified doctors at K Health have their patient’s best interests in mind and want everyone who needs it to have access to great healthcare. 

Testosterone therapy (TRT)

Testosterone therapy may be suggested by doctors who suspect that ED may be caused by low levels of testosterone. However, it is important that we mention this; low levels of testosterone generally aren’t the culprit in the case of ED. Low testosterone can affect the desire for sex. Whereas, erections depend primarily on two things—nerve supply and blood flow. 

Penile Self-Injections

Alprostadil, papaverine, and phentolamine may be injected into the base of the penis, giving you the ability to obtain and maintain an erection for up to 40 minutes. Injections are only available through a prescription from your doctor. 

Urethral suppository

A tiny suppository is placed within the penile urethra, using a unique applicator, and results in an erection after 10 minutes that can last up to 60 minutes. Suppositories are also only available through your doctor. 

Alternative Options to Treat ED

  • Vacuum pump

  • Penis rings

  • Herbs and supplements

  • Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise

 

                                                                                                                

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Trivesh Vassen

Trivesh is a copywriter based in Cape Town, South Africa. Since 2005 Trivesh has worked with hundreds of brands and publications covering a variety of industries. Trivesh works as a Relief Seeker contributor covering men's health and wellness issues.

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