What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
- ED is the same thing as impotence and means that a man is not able to get or keep an erection firm enough for successful sexual intercourse.• If you have ED, it does not mean that you are unable to have an orgasm or have a decreased sex drive, or have premature ejaculation.
How common is ED?
- Overall, between 10 and 30% of men of all ages will suffer from ED on an ongoing or recurring basis. • Most men will experience the problem at some stage in their lives. The incidence of ED increases with age.
What causes ED?
- More than 90% of all cases of ED can be traced to a physical cause. This cause is usually due to insufficient blood flow to the penis or insufficient blood trapping in the penis after it has become erect. Examples of physical causes include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Physical injury
- Some prescription and non-prescription drugs
- Poor blood circulation
- A smaller percentage of cases of ED is psychological in origin. These patients tend to be younger and usually report no erection at all with a partner, although they may be able to become erect when they are alone, watching an erotic movie, or during sleep.
- Men, who suffer from ED due to a physical problem, often have a psychological reaction to it such as depression or loss of self-esteem. This is a normal reaction and should not be confused with psychological ED.
Is ED a normal part of aging?
- ED is more common in older men, however, difficulty in maintaining an erection is NOT a normal part of aging.
Can ED be prevented?
- In some cases, yes. Reducing stress, or sharing concerns with your partner or doctor can help psychological ED. Physical ED can be avoided by following a sensible diet and lifestyle that includes cutting back on alcohol and smoking.
Diabetics must control their blood sugar levels within normal ranges.
Should I be worried about ED?
- An occasional loss of erection is nothing to worry about. But if it happens consistently, you should see your family doctor who may recommend treatment or refer you to a specialist.
- If you are experiencing signs of ED, take a few minutes to answer the questions at the end of this brochure and make an appointment with your family doctor. Tear off the perforated question sheet and take it to your appointment.
How is ED diagnosed?
- Your family doctor will take a patient history which may include questions such as: how the problem developed? The doctor will conduct a thorough examination and may select tests to differentiate between physical and psychological ED.
How is ED treated?
- There are many treatment choices available, depending on the cause of the ED. If your doctor suspects psychological ED you and perhaps your partner maybe referred to a psychologist or counsellor for counselling.
- ED caused by hormone problems may be treated with medication. In diabetic men, diet, medication and exercise are essential, as poor blood sugar control may increase the severity of ED. If ED is a side-effect of a medication(s) that you are taking, a different drug may be prescribed.
Remember; do not change your medication(s) without first talking to your doctor.
- ED due to permanent damage of the blood vessels or nerves can also be treated. Options include vacuum devices, injection therapy, oral medication, vascular surgery, or penile implants.
Source: TOP Alberta