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Erectile Dysfunction ED Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It’s also sometimes referred to as impotence. Occasional ED isn’t uncommon. Many men experience it during times of stress. Often, erectile dysfunction is a symptom of underlying health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or psychological issues.
Erectile dysfunction can have a range of causes, both physical and psychological. Physical causes include:
- cardiovascular disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- multiple sclerosis (a disease of the nervous system)
- Peyronie’s disease (a condition that affects the shape of the penis)
- hormonal problems
- injury to the nerves or arteries that supply the penis
- certain medications
Psychological causes include:
- relationship problems
Erectile dysfunction can have a negative impact on your sexual life and your psychological health. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re having any of the following problems:
- You’re concerned about your erectile dysfunction and want to know if it’s a normal part of aging.
- You’re under 40 years old and have had erectile dysfunction for more than a few months.
- You have erectile dysfunction that doesn’t go away after a few months of trying different treatments.
- You have diabetes, heart disease, or another health condition along with erectile dysfunction.
- You have erectile dysfunction that is impacting your relationship or self-esteem.
Your doctor will likely ask about your medical history, symptoms, and medications. They may also do a physical exam and order tests to check for underlying health conditions. They will also ask about your sexual history to help determine the cause of your erectile dysfunction. Treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on the cause. If your doctor determines that your erectile dysfunction is caused by a underlying health condition, they may refer you to a speCialist for treatment. If your erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological issues, your doctor may refer you to a therapist or counselor. There are a number of lifestyle changes that can help treat erectile dysfunction. These include:
- Quit smoking. Smoking can damage your blood vessels and contribute to erectile dysfunction.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can improve your overall health and reduce stress. It can also help with erectile dysfunction.
- Lose weight. Obesity can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Losing weight can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of erectile dysfunction.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a diet that’s high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of erectile dysfunction.