Sometimes referred to as male impotence, erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease as many as 30 million men in the United States have ED.
In 41% of men under 40 years of age, the most common factor related to their erectile dysfunction was smoking, while diabetes was the second most common risk factor with 27% of the men under 40 years of age.
While this is never an easy conversation for most men to have with their doctors, you should know that occasional erectile dysfunction is definitely not uncommon. Stress, problems within your relationship, depression, and other health-related issues may make achieving an erection difficult. However, should you have ongoing trouble achieving and maintaining an erection, it’s time to speak to your doctor.
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by one or several different physical and mental disorders such as:
Many men find discussing ED with their doctors to be uncomfortable, but it is there is nothing to be ashamed of. Your doctor will work with you to find out what the underlying cause of your ED. This usually involves a physical including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood and urine tests, prostate exam and an examination of both your penis and your testicles.
Most healthy males will have erections while they sleep. This test is to review your nocturnal erections, which occur while you’re asleep. A portable device is attached to your thigh while you are sleeping, recording the quality of your nocturnal erections for review by your doctor.
Your doctor will prescribe treatment depending on the cause of your ED. This may include not only prescription medication for erectile dysfunction, but also lifestyle changes. The goal of the medication is to help stimulate blood flow to your penis. It is not unusual for patients to try several medications before finding the one that works best and which may have the fewest side effects.
Some medications that are often prescribed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction are:
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