In total, more than half of men over the age of 40 were found in one study to have a degree of erection problems. One common cause can be psychological stress, a lack of libido, problems or extra pressures at work and at home. Other contributing factors might be difficulties with your general health, particularly if you have diabetes or cardiovascular disease, as these in particular may affect the blood supply to the penis which is essential for maintaining your erection. Certain prescription drugs such as beta blockers for treating high blood pressure can also play a role, as may your lifestyle, e.g. with respect to excess alcohol and use of tobacco.
A large percentage of men also have problems with ejaculating too soon. This may be due to over sensitivity of the nerves at the end of the penis or just general over stimulation and excitement. Thankfully this condition can be managed with drugs to delay ejaculation or advice from a sex therapist.
Whatever the cause of your erectile dysfunction it is very likely that the local specialist doctor or nursing team will be able to do something to help make things better. The first hurdle is overcoming embarrassment with respect to seeking advice, and you've managed that just by reading this article.
Diagnosing erectile dysfunction, common causes and treatments
One of the most important ways to investigate the possible causes of your erection problems is to take a thorough medical history and ask a lot of questions particularly about your sex life and how well your penis functions. You might find this pretty difficult, many general doctors find it hard to take this type of history too, but the specialist doctor you see is very used to asking these types of questions.
However difficult it is to describe, the doctor will ask you some detailed questions about your erections, these will include asking if you get an erection at all, if the penis is hard enough for penetration and if you can maintain the erection for a long enough time period. They will ask about any abnormalities in the shape or curvature of the penis to indicate if the body tissue which makes erections happen might have been damaged in any way.
They will also ask about previous relationships, whether there have been erection problems before, if you have the same sex drive as you've had in the past, stresses and strains at work, and what you feel your relationship with your partner is like.
Specifically, if you have had any injuries to the pelvic area, or previous surgery in that region it is important to tell the doctor about it.
Smoking or excess alcohol can be important contributors to lack of sexual performance, so be honest with the doctor or nurse about how much you drink or smoke.
Problems with the prostate gland and medications to do with treating them may reduce male hormones, and for this reason the doctor will ask if you have had problems with passing urine or are taking medications like finasteride or dutasteride.
Also, they will want to see any specific medications you are taking. Certain medications, particularly beta blockers used for treating blood pressure may strongly affect the quality of the erections you get. There are many other drug classes available, and if you are on this type of medication then a change may do a lot to help the problem.
Physical examination is very important. This will concentrate on the cardiovascular system, particularly looking for high blood pressure, the nervous system looking for any nerve damage which may contribute to erection problems and the penis itself, looking for any thickening of the tissue on the shaft of the penis, the size of the testes which may indicate hormonal problems, and the external opening.
It is very likely your doctor will check some bloods, these will include prolactin, a hormone which can switch of production of the male hormone testosterone, and testosterone itself. He or she will also check some general blood tests, looking for anaemia and other problems with the functioning of the liver or kidneys. Other tests they will do include a fasting blood sugar level to make sure you're not diabetic, and also perhaps some thyroid function testing as having an under-active thyroid may also contribute to difficulties.
Treatment will involve counselling for you and your partner where there might be stress or difficulties in your relationship contributing to problems, and medication where appropriate.
One important factor is controlling any underlying diseases which may have contributed. With respect to diabetes this would mean getting control of the blood sugars as tight as possible, or in the case of hypertension for example it might mean getting the blood pressure to target without using drugs which would affect the quality of the erection. If the blood tests show a lack of male hormone, there are a number of therapies to restore this.
The medication everyone knows about for treating erectile dysfunction is Viagra. It works by blocking an enzyme called PDE-5, this leads to dilatation of the blood vessels in the penis and improves the hardness and durability of your erection. Two other similar medications are now also available, Cialis and Levitra, their speed and duration of actions differ slightly, so it's worth chatting with your doctor about which pill might be the best for you.
Alternatively, a medication called Muse works in a similar way to Viagra but is given as a tablet down the urethra. Another option includes giving injections of drugs into the penile tissue which act at a local level to dilate the blood vessels.
If none of these options work then vacuum devices may be an option for you. There are also a number of treatments your specialist may suggest, such as giving a drug called apomorphine under the skin, although this may well be associated with nausea and feelings of sickness. Other treatments such as creams or skin patches are currently in clinical trials.
In short, whatever the cause of your erection difficulties it's likely there will be something to help you. The important thing to remember too though is that it's not just about the physical fact of achieving erection, and that you and your partner should support each other through any stress or psychological difficulties that may be standing in the way of successful treatment.
Products include Buy Viagra pleasure pack at Pharm4all for erection difficulties.
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