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Erectile Dysfunction Explained: Causes and Treatment Options

It's a problem that affects over 6 million UK men, and many more worldwide.

The causes can be many and varied. For some men, chronic health problems can be the sole cause, while for others impotence can be attributable to more common factors such as stress, bedroom anxiety, alcohol, drugs and smoking.

While it is not harmful in an off itself, impotence can seriously impact a man's sex life, self esteem and confidence. Men of all ages, races and backgrounds can be affected, and according to statistics, approximately 65% of men will be affected at some point during their life time.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Impotence is when a man is unable to produce an erection sufficiently hard enough to engage in sexual intercourse. Sometimes the man is unable to achieve no erection at all even when psychologically aroused. Or it can mean that you fail to maintain an erection before or during intercourse.

Is Erectile Dysfunction a Disease?

Erectile dysfunction is not a disease. It is a symptom of an underlying physical or psychological health problem.

Is Erectile Dysfunction Curable?

Impotence doesn't have to be a permanent issue. In most cases men can have their erectile function restored back to a perfectly satisfactory level. Once the root cause has been established using some routine tests, treatment can be offered to swiftly correct the problem. However, in some cases impotence can be a sign of a more serious health problem which may require surgery.

How Does Erectile Dysfunction Occur?

To understand how impotence occurs on a physiological level, it's important to understand how erections form in the first place.

The process of erection involves many factors and variables. During normal sexual arousal, blood vessels dilate to send blood to the two major erectile bodies of the penis (corpora cavernosa). To achieve tumescence, a signaling molecule known as cGMP is released during arousal to relax the vessels of the erectile bodies in the penis and cause them to expand, much like a pair of bellows open to draw in air. To balance the erectile process, an enzyme known as PDE-5 is released to deactivate cGMP.

When excess PDE-5 is present or too little cGMP are produced during a state of arousal, the process of erection is compromised: impotence is simply the disruption of this natural process.

What can Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Impotence may be caused by physiological and/or psychological variables. Acute and short-lived factors in impotence may be psychological. Chronic impotence however may be caused by physiological factors such as poor health or a more serious underlying medical condition.

Simple Ways to Determine the Cause of Erectile Dysfunction:

- Achieving an erection when waking up is a good sign that the impotence is not health-related.

- Achieving erection during masturbation implies that the impotence is merely psychological.

Psychological conditions related to impotence are:

• Negative emotions
• Depression
• Low self esteem / inferority complex
• Anxiety
• Fatigue
• Unsatisfactory sex life and/or relationship

Physical factors related to impotence are:

• Cardiovascular disease
• Cerebrospinal injury
• Diabetes mellitus
• Tobacco and alcohol use
• Medication
• Obesity
• Surgery or injury in the lower abdomen or groin
• Venous leakage
• Heart problems

How do I Get Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction?

To treat impotence, there are many options available, ranging from brand-name oral prescriptions like Viagra and Cialis, to over-the-counter solutions, natural herbal supplements and talk therapy.

Communication is the first step towards curing impotence. Consulting with your doctor will help you discover the cause of your condition. Also discussing the issue with your partner will help to relieve the anxiety and shame associated with impotence.

The upside to this all important shared communication, is a more relaxed environment which may be conducive in allowing your sex life to flourish and helping you to achieve sustainable erections.

Medication for impotence is one of the most popular treatment options, and may be used either short or long-term. These medications act to reduce the activity of PDE-5, allowing you to achieve erection more easily. Naturally occurring substances containing Nitric Oxide, can be found in many supplements like L-Arginine. This particular product often used by bodybuilders, has been shown to be an effective combatant against Impotence when used in the right dosages.

This boost in nitric oxide can help the muscles to relax and improve overall blood circulation throughout the body, especially the penis! Basically, the more NO our bodies get, the bigger and harder our erections can become.

Understandably, impotence can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable topic to bring up with your doctor. If you are unable or unwilling to discuss it with your doctor, then we can help.

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