What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most accurate of the terms used, which replaced the obsolete “impotence” and means the inability to achieve and maintain the erection necessary to satisfy sexual partner. At the end of XIX century psycho-sexual theory of Sigmund Freud overturned the world of psychoanalysis and forced a new look at many questions of motivating human behavior. Since that time more than 100 years have passed, but the “basic instinct” remains the “basic instinct”. It’s no secret that a full sexual life is one of the most important components of the physical and mental health of every person.
Data from recent sociological studies indicate that sexual health is a pledge not only of good quality, but also of a longer life span. Violations of erection, which will be discussed later, spoil life not only of a man. This problem affects the relationship with his wife or his beloved. For many years in the cultural tradition of different peoples, there were specific substances used to maintain sexual activity at a high level, but only in the last years of the twentieth century, when pharmacological giants undertook the problem, it was possible to raise the problem to the level of modern evidence-based medicine.
When a Diagnosis “ED” is Set?
ED is an integral part of the problem of sexual dysfunction, which, in addition to ED, includes disorders of ejaculation, libido and orgasm. In the structure of sexual disorders ED occupies the main place both in frequency of occurrence, and in social significance. Erectile dysfunction is a fairly frequent phenomenon. According to the latest data, millions of men around the world suffer from ED. Every tenth man older than 21 suffers from an erection disorder, and every third man over 60 years old is not able to perform sexual intercourse. About 52% of men over the age of 40 are experiencing certain difficulties associated with an erection disorder.
Often, erectile dysfunction is associated with factors such as stress, fatigue or alcohol intoxication. As a rule, they are episodic, and in such cases it is too early to make a diagnosis. There is no an experienced man who has never had a failure in sexual life. Some representatives of strong sex don’t panic while for others this situation becomes the cause of severe and prolonged depression. Experts diagnose ED only if problems with erection exist for a sufficiently long period (3-6 months).
Key Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
The causes of erectile dysfunction are divided into:
- organic (vascular, neurological, hormonal, etc.),
- psychogenic, caused by the central suppression of the mechanism of erection without physical trauma;
- and mixed, which are caused by a combination of organic and psychogenic factors.
Most patients suffering from ED exhibit a combination of organic and psychogenic factors. According to the analysis of data over the past 10 years, organic factors alone or in combination with psychogenic ones were observed in 75-80% of men suffering from ED.
It should be understood that the breakdown of sexual function is often not an independent disease, but a manifestation of various abnormalities in the body of a man. The emergence of ED is most often associated with hypertension, diabetes and depression. Atherosclerotic vascular lesions can also prevent the flow of blood into the penis. About 40% of cases of ED in men over the age of 50 are associated with this disease. ED is detected in 50% of patients with diabetes mellitus, i.e. three times more often and 10-15 years earlier than in healthy men.
Neurological causes of erectile dysfunction may include diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, traumas of the brain and spinal cord, pelvis and perineum, various operations in these areas, leading to impaired innervation of the penis or upset of higher nervous activity.
The older a man, the more likely he is to have chronic diseases that are not directly related to the genital area, but require prolonged (or permanent) medical treatment.
For a variety of drugs, a negative effect on potency is characteristic, and the mechanisms of development of such a side effect are different. Most often, erectile dysfunction is caused by the effect of drugs on the central nervous system. Such a mechanism is typical for psychotropic drugs (neuroleptics, tranquilizers, some antidepressants), many antihypertensive drugs (beta-adrenoblockers, central adrenomimetics), first-generation antihistamines, etc. Negative hormonal drugs that block the effect of male and female sex hormones affect the erectile function.
Can ED Be Treated Successfully?
One of the elements of the survey can be a conversation with a sexologist or a psychologist, if the psychogenic component of ED prevails in the clinical picture.
Of great importance there is the correction of drug therapy of concomitant diseases, since the drugs taken by the patient often (in about 25% of cases) affect sexual health. Concomitant therapeutic diseases may cause the development of ED, and the violation of sexual function becomes in this case one of the first symptoms of health problems.
If ED develops after surgery has been performed on the pelvic organs and genitals, radiation or any other therapy for prostate cancer, then this condition should be considered as a complication of treatment, which is likely to have been warned in advance by your treating physicians. But do not despair – in this case the optimal way of treatment can be found as well.