What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

A person having Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is not able to achieve and/or maintain an erection of the penis sufficient for sexual activity. So, the penis does not get hard at all or not enough for having a sexual intercourse.

ED is responsible for great deal of stress and anxiety as well as low self-confidence in a lot of men. Mostly its occasional, when you cannot get an erection and it is only temporary. But sometimes it occurs repeatedly. There are a lot of misconceptions about it in the mind of a common man. Normally after emotional or physical stimulation, there is an increased filling of blood in sponge like tissues of the penis and decreased blood flow out of the penis, so blood remains trapped in the penis and it becomes hard and erect. Thus the ability of men to have an erection is dependent of multiple factors like their emotions, hormones, nerves, blood vessels and cells of penis itself. A problem with any of these elements can cause ED. It can occur at any age, but becomes more common with increasing age. In the older adult male, it is a major problem affecting more than 75% of men.

Common Causes of ED

There are several factors which causes bodily or mood changes & lead to ED. Physical causes means you have problems with penile structure itself or any other bodily disease affecting it. 

Diseases include less blood flow to the penis or injury of the nerves going to the penis (For example, multiple sclerosis, a stroke, Parkinson's disease, Spinal Injury etc.). Lifestyle disorders like high blood pressure (BP), Obesity (greater body weight than the normal level for a particular height & weight), Diabetes (high blood sugar), etc. Also lack of male sexual hormone called testosterone, alcohol and drug abuse, clogged blood vessels (Atherosclerosis) and side effects of some medications causes ED. 

Sometimes psychological issues like anxiety, stress due to work or home environment, depression, relationship difficulties also leads to ED.

Myths Associated With ED

  • Myth 1: ED is part and parcel of your body’s aging process: Contrary to popular belief, ED is not a normal part of the aging process. If you’re having difficulty in getting an erection, the underlying cause can be medical in nature such as undiagnosed or diagnosed  cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Myth 2: ED can’t be reversed: Through the right treatment and certain lifestyle changes, most of the cases of ED can be reversed to almost normal. It is said that sexual health and erectile performance can be enhanced when you improve the health of your heart. Exercising to bring about weight loss and quitting smoking are ways that experts advocate for improving the health of your heart.
  • Myth 3: You are the only person to suffer from this problem: The common belief that ED affects only a few men is not true. Scientific studies show that ED strikes about 5% of men aged 40 years and between 15-25% of men aged 65 years.
  • Myth 4: It’s completely in your head: This isn’t true at all. The source of the problem could be certain parts of your body. In most cases, the cause is usually certain physiological problems such as heart disease, clogged arteries, high cholesterol, and Parkinson’s diseases, etc.
  • Myth 5: Only drugs and surgery can help you remove the problem: ED can be treated using a number of treatment options. Apart from pills and surgery, simple lifestyle changes can help to provide respite from the problem. Decreasing the consumption of alcohol, losing weight and even quitting smoking can improve your sexual health. Moreover, since the problem can also be due to an underlying medical condition such as high blood pressure; treating the underlying cause can help in easing your erection problems.