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What do I Need to Know About Erectile Dysfunction?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence or ED, is a condition in which a male is unable to achieve an erection of the penis, or is unable to sustain that erection long enough to engage in sexual intercourse. Many men view impotence as shameful and a sign of failure. However, this limited worldview is based in cultural norms and concepts of what it means to be a man, rather than in established facts. If you or someone you know is struggling with ED, here is some information you should consider.

All too often, erectile dysfunction is seen as a condition of old age. Thus, when a man begins to experience impotency, that means he is getting old. This is nothing more than an urban myth. The fact is that ED can and does occur in men of all ages. Age is rarely if ever a factor in male impotence.

Another common misconception is that male impotency is a completely psychological issue. While there is no doubt that erectile dysfunction can involve a psychological component prior to and during a period of impotency, modern medicine has also identified that the root cause for the issue may be physical in nature. For example, the inability to achieve or sustain an erection may be connected to such health issues as high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure. When the physical issue is successfully addressed, it is not unusual for the male to begin achieving erections once again, and sustaining them all the way through to ejaculation.

There are other causes of erectile dysfunction that may apply. The use of certain over the counter and prescription medications may inhibit the ability to achieve an erection. Some type of trauma to the nervous system may interfere with a healthy blood flow to the penis, making it impossible to get an erection. Impotence may be a temporary issue after certain types of surgery, especially those involving the prostate or any component of the male reproductive system. Even something as simple as being overweight or smoking can impact the ability of the body to function efficiently, including inhibiting erections.

Fortunately, there are very few incidences of erectile dysfunction that cannot be effectively treated. When a man begins to notice the quality and frequency of erections begins to decrease, it is important to see a doctor immediately. Often, blood work and a complete physical can identify emerging health issues that are causing the decrease and make it possible to begin treatment before impotency takes place. If no physical cause is found, the man can then move on to exploring possible emotional issues for the impotency and resolving those issues with the aid of a trained therapist.

ED is often a sign of some other health issue that must be addressed before it gets worse. Rather than viewing impotency as a sign of failure or of being “less” of a man, it is imperative to see a doctor immediately. Treating underlying issues not only restore potency; it could also ultimately save the individual’s life.

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