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Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is a type of sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual activity. ED can have psychological consequences as it can be tied to relationship difficulties and self-image. A physical cause can be identified in about 80% of cases. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological problems such as following prostatectomy, and drug side effects. Psychological impotence is where erection or penetration fails due to thoughts or feelings; this is somewhat less frequent, in the order of about 10% of cases. In psychological impotence, there is a strong response to placebo treatment. Apart from its importance as a common and distressing sexual problem, ED may herald important medical problems. ED is a strong predictor of a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular events. We will discuss the prevalence of erectile dysfunction, and we will look at the causes and treatments for this condition.
The most common physical causes of erectile dysfunction are related to circulation and blood pressure. These conditions include heart disease, atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, and hypertension. Diabetes, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle are all risk factors for erectile dysfunction. In addition, men who have had a previous heart attack are at increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Psychological causes include anxiety, depression, and stress. In some cases, erectile dysfunction may be a symptom of a more serious underlying health condition. For example, men with diabetes are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than other men.
The treatment of erectile dysfunction depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, such as with psychological problems, counseling may be helpful. In other cases, medications may be necessary. The most common medications used to treat erectile dysfunction are phosphodiesterase inhibitors. These drugs include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). These medications work by relaxing the muscles in the penis and increasing blood flow to the area. In some cases, other medications may be necessary. For example, men with diabetes may need to take medications to control their blood sugar levels. In addition, surgery may be an option in some cases. For example, men with vascular problems may need surgery to correct the problem.
Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors. In most cases, it can be treated effectively. If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you.