What’s to know about erectile dysfunction?

What’s to know about erectile dysfunction?

A man is considered to have erectile dysfunction if he regularly finds it difficult getting or keeping a firm enough erection to be able to have sex, or if it interferes with other sexual activity.Most men have occasionally experienced some difficulty with their penis becoming hard or staying firm. However, erectile dysfunction (ED) is only considered a concern if satisfactory sexual performance has been impossible on a number of occasions for some time.

Since the discovery that the drug sildenafil, or Viagra, affected penile erections, most people have become aware that ED is a treatable medical condition.

Men who have a problem with their sexual performance may be reluctant to talk with their doctor, seeing it can be an embarrassing issue.

However, ED is now well understood, and there are various treatments available.

This MNT Knowledge Center article offers helpful information for people experiencing this problem, or those close to them.

Fast facts on erectile dysfunction:
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as persistent difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection sufficient to have sex.
  • Causes are usually medical but can also be psychological.
  • Organic causes are usually the result of an underlying medical condition affecting the blood vessels or nerves supplying the penis.
  • Numerous prescription drugs, recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking, can all cause ED.
Causes
Normal erectile function can be affected by problems with any of the following systems:
  • blood flow
  • nerve supply
  • hormones

Physical causes

It is always worth consulting a physician about persistent erection problems, as it could be caused by a serious medical condition.Whether the cause is simple or serious, a proper diagnosis can help to address any underlying medical issues and help resolve sexual difficulties.

Drug treatments

Men can take a group of drugs called PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase-5) inhibitors.

Most of these pills are taken 30 to 60 minutes before sex – the best known being the blue-colored pill sildenafil (Viagra). Other options are:
vardenafil (Levitra)
tadalafil (taken as a once-daily pill called Cialis)
avanafil (Stendra)

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