WHAT IS ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability of a man to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Erectile dysfunction affects dramatically the quality of life, both the man and his partner.
How common is erectile dysfunction?
It is very common and affects more than one in ten men. However only 10% of these men resort to urologist to deal with it. Before starting any treatment is necessary to have a proper health check by a specialist.
WHAT CAUSES ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION?
About eight out of ten cases of erectile dysfunction is due to organic causes.
Usually in these cases the sexual desire is unaffected. Such causes may be:
- Decreased blood supply to the penis : as in other parts of the body, the arteries supplying blood to the penis can be narrowed. The blood then may not be sufficient to cause an erection.
- Neurological diseases and injuries of the penile nerves such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord trauma, fractures of the hip, major surgery near the nerves of the penis, the radiation area of the genitals etc.
- Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common causes.
- Adverse effects of drugs , the most common of these are antidepressants, antihypertensives and diuretics.
- Abuse of alcohol and drug use .
Various psychological conditions can cause erectile dysfunction. They can also cause a decrease in sexual desire. Such conditions are:
- stress , which can result in professional, economic, family or social problems.
- Problems inside the couple
IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION AND HEART DISEASES?
Seven out of ten cases of erectile dysfunction problem is due to narrowing of the small arteries of the penis. Of course, this narrowing of the arteries is not confined to the penis, but often affects other organs such as the heart, brain, legs.
HOW IS THE EXAMINATION DONE?
Depending on the history, symptoms, possible risk factors, age, etc, your doctor will recommend some tests. These relate mainly to control the risk factors and may include a cholesterol test, blood glucose, blood pressure, hormonal examination.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION?
The risk factors ofr erectile dysfunction ,which we can deal with, are:
- Smoking : Smoking doubles the chances of erectile dysfunction
- high cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- Bad nutrition
WHAT THERAPEUTIC OPTIONS DO WE HAVE?
- Oral medications : There are several pills to treat erectile dysfunction that are usually effective. But there are pros and cons to each one of them and this is a topic that you will discuss with your urologist.
- Shock wave therapy.
- Vacuum pumps.
- Injection method : There are drugs that are injected into the penis causing an erection. The dose of such drugs is different for each patient.
- Penile prostheses : surgically placed into the penis by the urologist. The most sophisticated and modern type device can be inflated by means of a built-in pump to produce an erection.