When a man cannot achieve or maintain an erection long enough to have sex, he is said to be suffering from erectile dysfunction. It is also referred to as impotence, and a man will be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction if he is experiencing erection problems for weeks or months.
Some symptoms accompany erectile dysfunction, and they can affect a man in many ways. All men inevitable have issues with erections at some point in their life, so if you are having erection problems occasional, it isn’t something you should worry about too much.
If it is gradually and continuously getting worse, then it is likely that there is a physical cause as this is how it happens with chronic impotence.
If the problems happen suddenly, but you are still getting those early morning erections and also when masturbation, it could be that your mind is involved. It could also be that there is a physical problem too.
These the most common symptoms that accompany erectile dysfunction:
- Softer erections
- Problems achieving an erection
- Having short erections
Erectile dysfunction doesn’t only impact your ability to have sex, and it has also been found to impact sexual desire negatively. You would find out that you are no longer as interested in sex as before, and this is because of the issues related to erectile dysfunction.
ED has also been linked to depression and anxiety. Relationship stress might also be experienced because of erectile dysfunction.
When a man doesn’t have the same strength and consistency to enjoy sexual intercourse, he has erectile dysfunction. It can impact the pleasure that comes from sexual activity.
Research has shown that the first symptoms of erectile dysfunction are often noticed by his partner. Sex doesn’t feel the same for a man’s partner if he has erectile dysfunction.
Usually, men do not notice these gradual changes to the angle or girth of his erection, but it is picked up by his partner. While you are still able to achieve an erection, you may have ED if there are noticeable changes that impact your sexual life.
Just like all normal bodily processes, men also experience a gradual decline in erectile function as they age. It could be that your erections don’t last long like they used to, they are softer or are not as hard and frequent as they used to be.
The symptoms of ED could be different depending on a man’s age, sexual activity, lifestyle, habits, and health.
There are times when you are not thinking about having sex, and it is normal. This is because certain factors can reduce sexual desire and erections; factors like illness, stress, financial problems, relationship problems, and not getting enough sleep.
If you are unable to get an erection occasionally, it is most likely not erectile dysfunction.
However, if you or your partner see changes in your erections, it would be best if you visited your doctor to know the main cause of your erectile dysfunction.
Surprisingly, erectile dysfunction could also be a warning for health conditions like heart disease, so ensure you visit your doctor if you have any concerns.
What causes Erectile Dysfunction?
A lot of men wonder why they have ED. While there are natural causes of erectile dysfunction, it can also be caused by habits or lifestyle. These are the major causes of erectile dysfunction;
Age has been found to bring about a steady decline in most bodily functions, and erections are not excluded. Erectile function problems get worse as men age.
Up to 12% of men aged 40 notice some issues with erection and this number increases with every decade that passes. About 50% of men aged 70 have been found to experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
It is a well-known fact that being overweight doesn’t come with any health benefits. And as such, it is also a major cause of erectile dysfunction as it could make your body convert testosterone into estrogen.
This is why research has linked being obese and not living a healthy life to problems with erectile function in men. But it is a problem that is amazingly reversible.
If you start living a healthier lifestyle and losing weight, you would find out your erections will be stronger and more frequent. But before you opt for a diet or exercise routine, you should first consult your healthcare professional.
Diabetes is becoming more common, and it is a severe health condition for several reasons. In addition to all the problems a man with diabetes has to suffer, he also has to deal with erectile dysfunction.
Research has shown that the longer you have any diabetes, the more susceptible you are to suffering from erectile dysfunction.
It is important to note that if you can control your blood sugar levels well, it could decrease your risks for erectile dysfunction. Research showed that up to 12% of men aged 40 experience erectile dysfunction, but when you consider those with high blood sugar levels, it increases to about 50%.
Erectile dysfunction that occurs as a result of diabetes is not always reversible, but you could make it better by controlling your blood sugar.
Heart disease and high cholesterol
Research has shown that erectile dysfunction is linked to the health of a man’s heart. It has been found that high cholesterol and high blood pressure could lead to erectile dysfunction.
However, some research has shown that several healthy men who develop erectile dysfunction end up having heart disease over time. Which is why you should visit your doctor if you have erectile dysfunction with no other health conditions to prevent heart conditions.
Smoking and the use of other tobacco-related products have been found to cause a lot of health conditions, and this includes erectile dysfunction. Regular use of tobacco would reduce the blood flow across your whole body, which includes the blood vessels in the penis.
If there is not enough blood being supplied to the penis, it becomes challenging to get and keep an erection. This is a reversible problem as you would notice improvements in your erection if you quit smoking.
Side effects of medications
There are several medications, including prescription drugs, that could lead to ED such as antihistamines, acid reflux medications, antidepressants, opioid pain medications, and blood pressure medications.
These are just some of the medicines that could lead to erectile dysfunction as there are many others. So, if you notice that you are starting to have problems with erectile function after starting a new medication, you should speak with your doctor to know if they are related.
Also, the excessive use of alcohol and other recreational drugs could contribute or lead to erectile dysfunction. So, lay back on your intake of alcohol if you are a heavy user.
Mental health issues
Research has shown that the brain plays a vital role in the ability to get and maintain an erection. So, when it comes to erectile dysfunction, you need a stable and healthy mind.
If you are mentally stressed or have mental health problems, it will impact your brain’s ability to create the nerve connections and release the hormones necessary for an erection.
Some of these mental health issues include anxiety, depression, and nervousness in bed. With the appropriate treatment, these are easily reversible problems.
Sexually transmitted infections
People often wonder whether sexually transmitted infections could contribute to erectile dysfunction. And research has proven that STIs could lead to ED.
Some sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, untreated HIV, chlamydia, and viral hepatitis could infect the prostate gland. If the prostate gland gets infected, it increases the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Generally, if the prostate infection is treated and steps are taken to manage the STIs, the problems with ED will resolve with time. A prostate infection that is not treated could lead to permanent damage, which is why you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
Research has shown that every 1 out of 4 men has below average testosterone levels. When a man’s testosterone level falls below average, he would experience symptoms like low sex drive, decreased bone mass, increase in body fat, insomnia, hair loss, and erectile dysfunction.
A man would experience more symptoms depending on how low his testosterone levels are. It is easy to check your testosterone levels as all you need is a blood test.
Also, you can boost your testosterone levels by living a healthy lifestyle and taking some natural testosterone boosting supplements. When your testosterone levels are back to normal, the symptoms of erectile dysfunction will get better.
Erectile dysfunction is influenced by a lot of factors, which is why you should try to avoid them. Make some changes to your lifestyle like starting a healthy diet plan, staying fit, reducing your alcohol intake, and quit smoking.
If you notice that you are starting to have problems with erectile function, visit your doctor immediately as it is better to treat ED before it becomes worse.