Impotence (Erectile dysfunction) – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Erectile dysfunction
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Impotence or erectile dysfunction is simply the inability to get and maintain an erection firm enough for intercourse. Having erection issues from time to time isn’t should be nothing to worry about.

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However, if erectile dysfunction remains an ongoing problem, then it could lead to stress, affect self-esteem, and affect one’s relationship.

Complications getting or maintaining an erection can also be an indication of an underlying health issue that needs immediate attention, and it could also be a risk factor for heart disease.

If you’re concerned about being impotent, consult with your doctor immediately. Occasionally, treating an underlying health issue could reverse problems like erectile dysfunction. And then again, drugs or other direct treatments might be necessary.

Symptoms of Erectile dysfunction

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction might include frequent:

  • Difficulty getting a firm erection
  • Difficulty maintaining an erection
  • Decreased desire to have sex

When should you see a doctor?

A personal or family doctor should be consulted to tackle erectile complications. You should see your doctor;

  • If you have issues with having an erection
  • If you’re having other sexual complications such as delayed or premature ejaculation
  • If you have heart diseases, diabetes or other health complications that might be associated with erectile dysfunction
  • If you’re experiencing symptoms linked with erectile dysfunction

Causes of erectile dysfunction or impotency

Sexual arousal in males is a complex process that involves emotions, the brain, hormones, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. Impotency could be a result of problems associated with any of these factors.

Mental health and stress can also play a key role in affecting erectile dysfunction. More-so, a combination of psychological and physical issues can lead to erectile dysfunction.

For example, a simple physical issue that slows down a man’s sexual response can trigger anxiety and affect his ability to maintain an erection. The resulting mental issue can cause and worsen impotence.

Physical things that can cause erectile dysfunction

There are many cases where erectile dysfunction is caused by physical factors, and some may include;

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  • High cholesterol
  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tobacco use
  • Some prescription medications
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Metabolic syndrome (this involves high insulin levels, elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol and fat around the waist)
  • Insomnia
  • Substance abuse such as alcoholism
  • Spinal complications
  • Injuries or surgeries affecting areas like the pelvic and spinal cord
  • Peyronie’s disease — the growth of scar tissue in the penis
  • Treatments for enlarged prostate or prostate cancer

Psychological things that can cause erectile dysfunction

A series of physical events can be triggered by the brain, which can cause a man to get an erection, such as feelings of sexual pleasure. Also, many things can also interfere with these physical events and cause or even worsen impotence. They include;

  • Anxiety, depression, or other mental health-related illness
  • Relationship issues caused by stress, little or no communication or other issues
  • Stress

Risk factors

As one gets older, it could take longer time developing an erection, and when there is an erection, it might not stay as firm.

A person might need to be directly touched on the penis so they can get and keep a stable erection.

Numerous risk factors can lead to erectile dysfunction and some of them include;

  • Medical issues, particularly heart conditions or diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Some medical treatments, including radiation treatment for cancer or prostate surgery
  • Drugs like antihistamines, antidepressants, and medications taken to treat pain, high blood pressure or prostate conditions
  • Psychological complications, such as anxiety, stress, or depression
  • Injuries that directly affect nerves responsible for erections
  • Alcohol and drug use, especially if they are being abused
  • Tobacco use, which can construct arteries and veins and restrict the flow of blood through these areas.

Complications

Erectile dysfunction
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Erectile dysfunction could have many complications that may include;

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • A dissatisfying sex life
  • Low self-esteem
  • Relationship issues
  • Inability to impregnate your partner

Prevention

The surest way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to cultivate healthy lifestyle choices, treat and manage any underlying health complications. You could do some of the following;

  • Engage in regular exercise
  • Get a doctor’s advice on how to manage heart disease, diabetes or other serious health conditions
  • Quit smoking
  • Minimize alcohol intake
  • Avoid illegal drug use
  • Consult with your doctor for medical screening tests
  • Take steps to minimize stress
  • See a therapist if you are dealing with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issues.

I hope you found this article informative? Do you have any idea you’d like to share? Have you had to tackle impotency before? Share with us in the comments below.

Erectile dysfunction
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Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.
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