Most men have erection problems every now and then. But when you have trouble getting or sustaining an erection at least half of the time you have sex, you may be experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED). This common condition, which may affect as many as 30 million men in the United States, can happen for a wide range of reasons. Board-certified urologist Dr. Alan Yamada in Arcadia, California, can help you uncover the causes of your ED and provide treatment options that are right for you. To find out more, call Foothill Urogenital Health to schedule your appointment today.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to get or keep an erection that’s firm enough for normal sexual intercourse.
You may have ED if you can get an erection sometimes, but not every time you want to have intercourse; or you may have ED if you can get an erection, but it doesn’t last long enough for satisfactory sex. Some men with ED are unable to get an erection at any time.
ED can be a short-term issue or a long-term problem. In addition to causing an unfulfilling sex life, ED can lead to a loss of intimacy between you and your partner, as well as depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem.
Although ED isn’t considered a normal part of aging, it does affect older men more often. It’s estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 have some degree of ED.
Because the male sexual response is a complex process involving emotions, hormones, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels, ED can be the result of a physical problem with any part of that process, the result of an emotional or mental issue, or both.
ED can happen when health problems limit blood flow to your penis, or damage nerves within your penis. Common health problems that can cause ED include:
Certain behaviors can also cause ED, in that they physically affect your sexual response. Smoking, abusing alcohol or drugs, and leading a sedentary lifestyle are all associated with ED.
ED can also be caused by stress, depression, or emotional issues. Relationship problems may also cause or worsen ED, as can being preoccupied with your sexual performance.
Because ED can be caused by a variety of factors — and because it can often be linked to more than one underlying issue — treatment is designed to address the roots cause, or causes.
Often, a combination of physical and psychological issues causes ED. A minor physical condition that makes it harder for you to get an erection, for example, might make you more anxious about your ability to maintain an erection.
Your individual treatment plan may begin with lifestyle recommendations to help you improve the condition naturally: Quitting smoking, losing weight, getting active, and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink are a few helpful steps you can take.
Other treatment options include going to counseling to address emotional issues, changing out any medications that may be contributing to the problem, and taking oral medications designed to help you achieve and sustain an erection.
Dr. Yamada can help you understand all your treatment options so you can make an informed decision.