Erectile dysfunction is one of those problems that can simply make you feel like less of a man. In our culture, we place so much emphasis on the male sexual ego that it can literally be devastating to some men. Add in the fact that ED can sometimes impact your ability to conceive a child, and it’s like a one-two punch to your sexual identity.
Men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) don’t want to hear that more than 50% of men over the age of 40 have the same problem. The problems of other men simply don’t matter when you are trying to "perform" and cannot. There are physical and psychological causes for ED, though most cases are caused by physical conditions that restrict blood flow to the penis. It is important to talk with your physician about your ED so that possible medical conditions can be ruled out, as ED may be the first sign of other health problems.
Health considerations and erectile dysfunction
The main cause of ED is poor circulation to the penis, which is often caused by other health problems. Men with recurring ED may suffer from hypertension or diabetes, both of which are treatable with lifestyle changes and medication. Poor circulation may lead to other, more serious health problems, so medical treatment is crucial to overall health. Atherosclerosis is another condition that may cause erectile dysfunction. In this case, the ED is a symptom of a bigger problem that can lead to stroke if left untreated.
Other possible causes of ED that can be treated include:
- Hormone imbalance
- Medication side effect
Your prostate and erectile dysfunction
After middle age, the prostate gland starts to grow larger. It is important for aging men to have their prostate check regularly as inflammation or excessive growth can be a symptom of an underlying, more serious condition. Prostate growth can lead to difficulty urinating and erectile dysfunction, in some cases. However, the most common cause of erectile dysfunction, in regards to the prostate, is prostate cancer. Both the condition and the treatment for the condition are known to cause difficulty achieving and/or maintaining an erection.
For some men, ED is psychological and related to concerns about self-image and performance anxiety. For men whose root cause is purely psychological, counseling and therapy can help improve body image, depression, and anxiety. Sex therapists can help men work through issues with performance anxiety. Getting help for the underlying psychological cause of ED can change a man's life— and his partner's life, too.
Talking with your doctor
Understanding a little bit about ED and its impact on fertility, as well as what can be done about it, can help you to cope with the situation. In some cases, it’s simply a matter of having the willingness to talk to your doctor about your ED and taking specific steps to fix it. If you are having trouble getting an erection or maintaining an erection, you should mention that to your physician. Make sure to tell your doctor all urological symptoms you are currently experiencing, including difficulty urinating, painful urination, or frequent urges to urinate as these can be additional symptoms of an underlying condition.