Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects about a third of all men, and its prevalence often increases with age. While the inability to have or sustain an erection from time to time isn’t a source of concern, it can have a negative impact on your quality of life if it’s an ongoing issue.
Apart from affecting your self-confidence, it can also cause stress and contribute to your relationship problems. What’s more, it can be a sign of an underlying health condition like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more.
This is why you need to test for ED, get to the root cause of the issue, and receive proper treatment. While you may be reluctant to see a doctor due to embarrassment, it is a step forward to ensure you enjoy a healthy sexual relationship with your partner. Below is a guide about the causes, symptoms, and treatments of ED that’ll help you learn more about the condition.
Symptoms of ED
Occasional ED shouldn’t be a source of worry. But frequent ED can be a warning sign for another health problem. If you have ED, you may experience:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble sustaining an erection for a long enough period
- Reduced sex drive
- Feelings of embarrassment or guilt
- Low self-esteem
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
ED is a complex condition caused by a myriad of factors. Often, you may have more than one issue that’s responsible for ED. To improve your condition the underlying problem has to be addressed. The factors causing ED may be physical or psychological.
Physical ED Causes
If you have ED, the cause is likely physical. Most physical causes of ED have to do with blood flow problems. The common causes include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Parkinson’s disease
- Physical trauma from injury or surgery
- Multiple sclerosis
- Prostate Cancer
- Certain medications like opioid painkillers and anti-depressants
- Drug and Alcohol use
- Peyronie’s disease ( development of scar tissue inside the penis)
- Low testosterone
Psychological Causes of ED
Whether primary or reactive, psychological causes must be considered in every case of ED since the brain plays a vital role in causing an erection. If your mental state isn’t okay, you may not be able to have or sustain an erection. Here are some psychological factors that can interfere with your sex life.
- Relationship conflicts
- Feeling nervous about sex
- Feeling depressed
- Worrying about your body or sex performance
How to Test for ED
Finding the cause of your ED will help the doctor come up with the most effective treatment options. With so many possible ED causes, you need to undergo several tests. These include:
Medical and Sexual History
Diagnosing ED starts with your doctor asking about your health and sexual experiences. While it isn’t exactly a test, it’ll give them a better understanding of how ED affects you and find out the clear cause for it.
When you talk to the doctor about your lifestyle choices, past surgeries and injuries, and the medication you consume, they can learn about factors that may have led to ED.
They can also ask about your sexual history, including your sex drive, your relationship with your partner, and more. This way they can try to figure out if your ED stems from physical or mental issues. You should be honest with your doctor when they ask any questions as withholding information won’t help.
Your doctor will carefully examine your penis and testicles to ensure they look normal and check their nerves for sensation. Apart from checking your sexual organs, they may check to see if you have larger-than-normal breasts or are experiencing hair loss. These can be signs that you have low testosterone and it’s the cause of your ED.
Additionally, your doctor can conduct a digital rectal exam to check your prostate gland for signs of infection or cancer. They can also check your reflexes to examine if you have any neurological problems. They may also listen to your heartbeat, check your pulse to see if your blood flow is normal, and take your blood pressure
The physical exam can take about 10 to 15 minutes. Getting a physical exam may feel, but remember, your doctor is a qualified professional dedicated to helping you treat your ED.
Blood and Urine Tests
Depending on your physical exam and medical and sexual history, your doctor may order certain blood or urine tests. Since erectile dysfunction can be a sign of heart disease, diabetes mellitus, or low testosterone, these tests can help them figure this out.
Nocturnal Penile Tumescence (NPT) Test
Men usually have three to five erections during the night. Your doctor may use this overnight erection test to see whether you can get an erection. For this test, your doctor will give you a device to place around your penis before you go to sleep. It’ll help measure the number of erections you have and how strong they are.
You should do the tests for at least two nights in a row. If you have good erections during your sleep, the cause of your ED is most likely psychological rather than physical.
Intracavernosal Injection Test
Also known as the injection test, this can help diagnose your ED. Your doctor will inject medicine into the base of your penis to give you an erection. They’ll then measure the length and fullness of your erection. If you don’t get one, you may have an issue with blood flow to your penis.
Sometimes referred to as the Doppler ultrasound, this test can help you check blood flow to your penis. Your doctor will use a handheld tool, passing it gently over your penis.
It’ll help create an image of your blood vessels using soundwaves so that your doctor can look at blood flow. They may use it along with the injection test.
Mental Health Exam
If your ED looks like it stems from a mental or emotional issue, your doctor will ask you questions about your mental well-being. It’ll help them check for depression, anxiety, and other psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.
In case you have a regular sexual partner, your doctor may ask to talk to both of you together. This will help give them more insight into your relationship and how it’s affecting your ability to get and keep erections.
How to Fix ED
Is there a cure for ED? Yes, you can treat ED. Your treatment options will depend on the cause and severity of your erectile dysfunction. Below are some treatments for ED.
Shockwave Therapy Treatment
Shockwave therapy is an effective method of treating ED caused by poor blood flow. It employs treatment using a wand-like device. During your treatment, the device is placed near different areas of your penis and turned on to pain-free pulses. These pulses trigger tissue remodeling, strengthening and repairing blood vessels to improve blood flow to your penis.
Apart from being safe, affordable, and highly effective, it’s convenient. Instead of visiting the doctor for shockwave therapy, you can use the at-home EDX device from Fluent. The at-home treatment should be done in just five minutes each day.
From Viagra and Cialis to Stendra, Staxyn, and Levitra, oral pills can be an effective treatment for ED. They help enhance the effects of nitric oxide — a natural chemical produced by your body to relax muscles in the penis. This increases blood flow, helping you get an erection during sexual stimulation.
For effective results, you should take your ED pills about an hour or two before having sex. Since oral ED medications are available in different strengths, you should consult a urologist so that they can prescribe a suitable dosage for you.
While they may be a popular treatment option, they come with a range of side effects including blurred vision, dizziness, headaches, nasal congestion, and more.
Peptides are the building blocks of proteins and amino acids. You need them to perform at an optimal level during sex. Peptide treatment focuses on restoring the peptide hormones in your body through an injection, helping stimulate cellular regrowth systems. Having the PT-141 peptide hormone restored can help improve your sexual desire, get aroused, and achieve a firm erection.
After the treatment, you may feel discomfort, redness, and bumps at the injection site. You may also experience nausea, flushing, headaches, and more.
You can also treat your ED through surgery. It involves the insertion of a penile implant. You can opt for it if other ED treatments fail. However, the placement of a penile implant during surgery carries a lot of risks, including the risk of infection, painful erections, and shortening or numbness of the penis.
Get Effective and Reliable Shockwave ED Treatment
Do you experience frequent erectile dysfunction? Fluent offers innovative shockwave therapy products with at-home and clinical-grade use to help you get a firm and longer-lasting erection. But before seeking shockwave treatment, you should see a doctor and test for ED. Contact us to know more about shockwave therapy.