Erectile dysfunction is one of the most common conditions that make a man lose self-confidence in the bedroom and causes strain in a romantic relationship. Erectile dysfunction can cause low self-esteem, depression, stress, and in some cases, it may lead to a breakup in a relationship. This article discusses erectile dysfunction and proven remedies to this condition.
It is not uncommon for a man to have problems attaining erections once in a while. However, it is no longer normal when it becomes a continuous occurrence. The man in question needs to seek medical help and get treated.
Men do not just become impotent or suffer erectile dysfunction without a remote cause. It is almost always a sign of an underlying medical or psychological condition or both. Treatment is aimed at treating any underlying condition discovered to be the cause, and when that doesn’t help, natural remedies, medications, the use of devices, or surgeries may be recommended.
What is Erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is commonly known as impotence. It’s a condition in which a man cannot get or maintain a firm erection long enough to have satisfactory sex.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction include
- Trouble attaining an erection
- Reduced sexual drive or libido
- Soft erection
- Trouble sustaining an erection
Causes of Erectile dysfunction
A study by Urology Care Foundation outlines the following factors as increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction:
- Being above the age of 50
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
- Some drugs
- Drinking of too much alcohol
Other factors that can cause this condition can be psychological or physical/medical disorders or both.
- Limited blood flows to the penis: Many health conditions can affect blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the penis, such as atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) which is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. So, erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of any of the above listed medical conditions.
- The penis cannot trap and keep blood in the penis during an erection: To get or sustain an erection, blood must flow into and stay in the penis until orgasm.
- The penis does not receive the nerve signals from the brain or spinal cord: This usually occurs when the nerve to the penis is damaged as a result of injury or surgery in the pelvic area and certain neurological diseases/disorders such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease.
- Spinal cord injuries, and brain diseases such as stroke.
- Hormoneimbalance: Studies have shown that low testosterone, high prolactin, and abnormal levels of the thyroid hormone can cause impotence.
- Chronic kidney and liverdisease can cause erectile dysfunction as they can affect blood vessels, nerves, and hormone levels.
- Cancer treatments close to the pelvis can affect the function of the penis. Using surgeries or radiation therapies to treat cancers in the lower abdomen or pelvis region such as colon-rectal, prostate, or bladder cancer can often result in erectile dysfunction.
- Drugs: Erectile dysfunction can be a side effect of some drugs such as antidepressants, drugs for treating prostate related ailments.
- Emotional or relationship problems can result in a lack of sexual desire and worsen erectile dysfunction. Some emotional issues that can cause erectile dysfunction include stress, depression, anxiety, conflicts, and worry about sexual performance.
Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction
The best way to treat erectile dysfunction is to treat the underlying cause. So, finding out the root cause of your erectile dysfunction will help the doctor proffer the best treatment options.
Before a health care provider diagnoses a person with erectile dysfunction, series of physical examinations, laboratory testing, and psychological examination have to be carried out on the individual.
The physical examination involves checking the penis and testicle for sensation. The laboratory testing screens for diabetes, hormonal deficiencies and/or high cholesterol. An ultrasound may also be carried out to detect if there is any issue in blood flow, and finally, psychological examination for stress, depression, anxiety, etc.
Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction
Generally, the treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on the cause and how severe it is. The treatment options include the use of prescription medications, therapies, vacuum pumps, implants, surgery, and natural home remedies.
Most often, oral medications known as phosphodiesterase (PDE) type-5 inhibitors are prescribed for erectile dysfunction. They help the normal erectile responses by increasing blood flow to the penis. The most common PDE5 inhibitors include:
- Viagra (sildenafil citrate)
- Cialis (tadalafil)
- Stendra (avanafil)
- Levitra (vardenafil HCl)
This is usually the next option when oral medication doesn’t work. It involves:
- injecting medication Alprostadil into the penis. which is known as intracavernosal Alprostadil (ICI)
- inserting it into the urethra as intraurethral Alprostadil (IU) to boost penile blood flow.
Testosterone replacement therapy
This treatment option is used when the cause of the impotence is low testosterone. The testosterone can be replaced via injections, gels, skin patches, or tablets placed between the gums and cheek. When used alone or in combination with PDE type 5 inhibitors, testosterone therapy may help restore normal erection.
Devices and surgery
When the other treatment options fail, the next option is using devices or opting for surgery.
- Vacuum erection device. This consists of a plastic tube and vacuum pump. This device is used by sliding the tube over the penis, with the pump at the other end of the tube to create a low-pressure vacuum around the erectile tissue. This helps to pull blood into the penis resulting in an erection. To keep the penis hard, an elastic ring is placed around the base of the penis. This helps to hold the blood in the penis and prevent blood from flowing back into the body for about 30 minutes.
- Penile implants. Bendable or inflatable implants can be used in rare cases where the patient does not respond well to other treatment options. They are meant to give the penis the firmness needed for penetration during sex.
- The bendable implant is made of two easy to bend silicon rods. The implant can be bent downward for peeing or upward for sex.
- The inflatable implant is a fluid-filled cylinder placed along the length of the penis, with a pipe that joins the cylinders to a pump placed inside the scrotum. When the pump is engaged, it increases the pressure in the cylinders, which inflate the penis and makes it stiff and erect.
- Penile Vascular surgery. This surgery is used to correct the problem with penile blood flow in young men caused as a result of artery damage. It is not recommended for older men with hardened arteries.
When the root cause of the erectile dysfunction has to do with a relationship or an emotional problem, your doctor may recommend that you and your partner see a sex therapist.
Natural Remedies that Work
There are lots of natural remedies to help with erectile dysfunction. Some of them are scientifically proven to be effective; while others need more research to prove their effectiveness. The natural remedies used for erectile dysfunction includes
This is also called red, Asian or Korean ginseng. Several human studies have shown that this herb can help to effectively treat erectile dysfunction by improving sexual desire by acting as a natural aphrodisiac and like Viagra in relaxing muscles and improving penial blood flow. According to a review of studies published in the British Journal of clinical pharmacology in 2008, it concludes that there was “suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.”
Also known as the arctic root, golden root, or roseroot. This herb acts on the dopamine system in the brain and has been shown to improve sexual function by boosting energy and reducing stress and fatigue, which cause loss of desire for sex.
This is a steroid hormone naturally produced by the adrenal glands. It can be converted to sex hormones in the body. It is available as a dietary supplement obtained from wild yam and soy. DHEA and testosterone have vasodilative and molecular properties which can have a positive effect on erectile function.
Many clinical studies prove that acupuncture could be used to treat erectile dysfunction. The risk is low if it is done by a licensed acupuncturist. A 1999 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research shows that acupuncture helped to improve the quality of erections and restored sexual activity in 39% of participants.
Other alternative therapies and remedies believed to help with impotence include: pelvic floor exercise, zinc supplements, garlic, pepper, water melon and pomegranate juice.
There are also lifestyle changes that can help with erectile dysfunction such as
- Taking little or no alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Eating healthy and exercising daily
Even though erectile dysfunction can negatively impact your love life and relationship with your spouse, the good news is that it is a treatable condition. There are different natural remedies, medications, therapies, and devices that can help to improve your erectile function.
There are a lot of natural remedies that can be used to treat impotence. Some men prefer natural remedies and only opt for oral medication, devices, and surgery when the natural remedies fail. This is because compared to the use of medication, devices, and surgery, most natural remedies have little or no side effects.
Since impotence can be an early signal of an underlying health condition, it is very important to Consult your Doctor for proper diagnoses and treatment
Medical Disclaimer: KompleteCare™ aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.