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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get a firm erection for sexual intercourse. Research suggests that 1 of every 10 men will suffer from erectile dysfunction at some point during his lifetime. In a majority of the cases, erectile dysfunction is the cause of another underlying health condition or a side effect of some prescription drugs. The number of men suffering from this condition surges with age but is not a part of ageing.


Sexual stimulation in men is a complex process & links the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels with each other. Often, a blend of physical and psychological issues can cause erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can result from any of the following primary causes- -Stress -Depression -Alcohol -Smoking -Diabetes -High BP -High Cholesterol levels -Atherosclerosis -Peyronie's disease -Cancer -Prostate surgery -Pelvic injury/ trauma -Lack of testosterone Other causes include - -Testicular failure -Pituitary gland dysfunction -Performance anxiety -Sexual Aversion Drugs -Anti-cancer medications -Illicit drug use like Cocaine/ heroin/ marijuana/opioids -Estrogens -Diuretics -Antianxiety drugs and sedatives Erectile dysfunction can be an indication of other health issues or health-related factors. The following health-related factors and behaviours may contribute to ED: -Smoking -Drinking excessive alcohol -Using illegal drugs -Being overweight

Treatment and Prevention

Erectile dysfunction can be treated with the help of pills, surgery, injections & devices (Used right before sex). The doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes, that may involve giving up smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, proper sleep, healthy diet, routine exercise, stress management, etc. These factors play an important role in fixing erectile dysfunction. The ability to maintain blood pressure levels also helps to decrease the consequences of erectile dysfunction. If erectile dysfunction is due to an underlying health condition, it is strongly recommended to see a specialist doctor for a treatment plan. The commonly known medicines prescribed by sexologists are phosphodiesterase inhibitors, prostaglandins & testosterone. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors, help in increasing the blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. This helps in achieving and maintaining an erection. Inhibitors, when taken right before sex, will induce an erection only if the man is sexually stimulated or aroused. An overdose of these medicines can often cause headaches. Men with low levels of testosterone can experience ED. Taking testosterone may help maintain an erection. Men with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have lower levels of testosterone, and are three times more likely to experience ED than non-diabetic men.Testosterone works only if the patient suffers from disorders such as hypogonadism. Male hypogonadism, also known as testosterone deficiency, is a failure of the testes to produce the male sex hormone testosterone, sperm, or both. In such situations, supplementing with testosterone is suggested by doctors for treating Erectile dysfunction. Other ways to treat this condition are: Vacuum erection device & Penile implants A vacuum erection device helps draw blood into the penis by applying negative pressure. This type of device is sometimes referred to as penis pump and may be used just prior to sexual intercourse. When pharmacological methods fail, a purpose-designed external vacuum pump can be used to attain erection, with a separate compression ring fitted to the base of the penis to maintain it. As a last resort, if other treatments have failed, the most common procedure is prosthetic implants where artificial rods are inserted into the penis surgically. These devices are either malleable (bendable) or inflatable. With this type of implant, the penis is always semi-rigid and merely needs to be lifted or adjusted into the erect position to initiate sex. This type of implant is a good choice for men with spinal cord injuries and/or limited hand strength. Another choice is a hydraulic, inflatable prosthesis, which allows men to have an erection when they choose, and it's easier to conceal. This method can help achieve an erection independent of sexual stimulation.

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Risk Factors

Things that usually aren't good for health may actually affect the ability to get or keep an erection. Such risk factors of erectile dysfunction are - -Smoking -Being overweight -Inactive lifestyle -Poorly managed diabetes -High cholesterol -Alcohol -Drug use -Stress and anxiety

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