Accessible insights about Erectile Dysfunction (ED), its causes, types, risk factors, impacts on life, as well as testing and treatment options including PDE-5 inhibitors (i.e. Viagra).
ED is quite widespread. Several studies have shown that a large number of men experience ED, and the chances and severity increase as men get older. For example, about 40% of men in their 40s have some form of ED, and this percentage increases by about 10% every ten years. Severe ED, while rare in younger men, is found in about 15% of men in their 70s.
Yes, ED can be grouped into three categories: organic, psychogenic, or mixed. Organic ED has a physical cause and can be due to issues with the blood vessels, nerves, structure of the penis, or hormones. Psychogenic ED, on the other hand, is often linked to stress, anxiety about sexual performance, and mental health issues.
There are many risk factors for ED, some of which can be changed and others that can't. Aging, which we can't change, is a primary risk. Risk factors we can change or manage include diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight, metabolic syndrome, a lack of physical activity, and smoking. These are mainly associated with ED that's caused by blood vessel issues.
Research suggests that ED can share common risk factors with heart disease and stroke. It might even be an early sign of potential heart or brain-related issues in some people. However, not all studies agree that ED can predict future heart or brain problems.
Yes, ED often happens after certain injuries or treatments. For example, it's common in men who've had injuries to the pelvic area or a broken penis, as well as after surgeries or radiation treatments, especially in the pelvic area. Studies show that about 79 out of 100 men who had prostate surgery and about 61 out of 100 men who had radiation therapy for prostate cancer had trouble getting an erection firm enough for sex two years after treatment.
Yes, ED affects much more than just the physical ability to have sex. It can also have a big impact on a man's mental health, overall sense of wellbeing, and quality of life, as well as his partner's. It can put stress on relationships and affect the happiness of the couple. Involving the partner during the process of diagnosing and treating ED has been found to help improve the patient's results.
Your overall health assessment will involve checking your blood pressure, body shape and size, the presence of male secondary sexual characteristics (loss of facial hair or groin hair), your mood, and whether you have gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue in males).
A doctor may check whether there are any hard lumps (plaques) in the penis, any issues with the foreskin (phimosis or tight foreskin), the tethering of the frenulum (the elastic band of tissue under the penis that helps with erection), narrowing of the urethral opening (meatal stenosis), and the quality of the pulses in your groin area.
If a patient has symptoms that suggest low testosterone levels, or if the common ED medications known as phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors (PDE5is) don't work for them, they should consider having a testosterone test. This test involves taking a blood sample in the morning (when testosterone levels are highest) to measure the amount of total testosterone in the blood.
For all patients with ED, especially if other health conditions or lifestyle habits are affecting their erectile function, some changes can help. These include increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol and cannabis use, and adjusting the diet.
PDE5 inhibitors are oral medications that help with ED by relaxing the blood vessels and smooth muscle in the penis, which allows for an erection in response to sexual stimulation. These medications approved by Health Canada include sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil.
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