Erectile dysfunction is a common disorder experienced by many men and at different severities. It is also known as impotence and is where a man cannot get an erection or sustain it long enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. In America, as many as 30 million American men are affected by erectile dysfunction on a continuing basis, and transient episodes affect nearly all adult males. In the UK, 1 in 5 men are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. It is possible to experience a lack of erection from time to time and this is absolutely normal. Gaining and maintaining an erection is quite a sensitive action and little things like stress or worries can sometimes get in the way of achieving it. Thankfully, nearly all men who seek treatment find some measure of relief.
Essentially, erectile dysfunction occurs because of a reduced blood supply going to the penis and this stops erections naturally from happening during any sexual stimulation. Sometimes, the inability to get an erection and perform satisfactory sex can have an impact on relationships, adding to the stress a man will probably go through. In fact, men experiencing continuous erectile dysfunction can have depression (depression and erectile dysfunction often co-exist).
So one thing to help the sufferer from perhaps feeling less guilty about it (as some men do) is to understand the causes of erectile dysfunction and identify what could be causing it. Certainly, it is really important that men are encouraged to seek help and not feel embarrassed or ashamed in doing so.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Some of the causes of erectile dysfunction are well established and known factors. They include:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Personal sexual fears
- Side effects of some medication such as antidepressants and beta – blockers
It was once thought that erectile dysfunction only happens in older men and is a natural part of the ageing process. Today, the pendulum of medical opinion has swung away from this. It may be true that sexual arousal can take a bit longer in older men than younger men, however chronic erectile dysfunction will warrant medical attention. With younger men, psychological problems are the likeliest reason for erectile dysfunction. Tension and anxiety may arise from poor communication with the sexual partner or a difference in sexual preferences. However, in older men, the most common causes are conditions that block blood flow to the penis, such as atherosclerosis or diabetes. Another vascular cause may be a faulty vein, which lets the blood drain too quickly from the penis. Other physical disorders, as well as hormonal imbalances and certain operations, may also result in erectile dysfunction. So it is not really difficult to identify what the cause of erectile dysfunction could be and there are treatments available to help manage the disorder when clinically diagnosed.
So is Erectile Dysfunction hereditary?
Erectile dysfunction itself is not a genetic condition. There are certain things that can cause erectile dysfunction which may run in families, but the condition itself isn’t genetic. In many cases, the common causes of erectile dysfunction do not run in families. Examples include things like injury, medications, and stress or relationship issues which can’t be passed down from parents to children. In other cases, however, there are certain medical conditions like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis which are common culprits for contributing to erectile dysfunction, and it’s possible for these to be passed on from parents to their children. Their links have been established and studies have confirmed that these conditions can cause difficulty in achieving an erection since they interfere with blood supply to the penis.
However, some experts believe that there are certain genes that can be inherited that make a man more susceptible to erectile dysfunction. These experts suggest that certain gene variables have been linked to high risks of ED developing and that these genes can be passed from father to son. However, this study is still ongoing, and nothing has been established as of yet. There is no real, hard evidence currently suggesting that erectile dysfunction is genetically linked. In fact, it is more likely that if you are dealing with erectile dysfunction, there is probably an underlying cause although not always obvious. So it is important to ensure that you make the appointment and see the doctor to check, but the problem is not caused by your genes directly.
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What can I do to help improve the symptoms?
Well, we already know that there are three main causes of erectile dysfunction including; psychological reasons, medical conditions and side effects of medication. Emotional or psychological issues include:
- Relationship problems.
Often an erection is possible but not during sexual intercourse. Sex therapy and dealing with the stress in your life helps to treat impotence. Change your job if it is giving you a serious amount of stress, try and make new friends or just socialise a little more. Think of what makes you feel comfortable and in a happier place, remove things from your life that give you stress. You may find that doing such changes can help to improve getting and maintaining an erection.
Medical conditions include:
- Heart disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
Treating these reasons are more complex and require intervention from your doctor. Avoid self-medicating as it could have serious consequences on your health.
Side effects of the medication:
Certain medication can reduce the ability to have an erection due to its effects on the circulatory system or even hormones. Hair loss treatment interacts with the male hormone testosterone increasing your hairline and decreasing your erections. Treatment for heart conditions affects the way blood pumps around the body making erections difficult. Some antidepressants can also cause erectile problems. If it is possible, discuss with your doctor to change the medication and switch to something else which does not cause such side effects.
Make some lifestyle changes
You can change some of the lifestyle choices you may have which can contribute to erectile dysfunction. For example, reduce smoking, over-consumption of alcohol, eating a more balanced and healthy diet. Erectile dysfunction is not really a chronic, long-term condition but instead can be a problem that is ongoing if the cause remains. There was a study carried out on 810 men with erectile dysfunction and the study found that almost a third of the men were able to overcome their problem of erectile dysfunction simply by modifying their lifestyle and adjusting it to become a healthier one. Try to find things that make you feel happy and look for support from family and friends – as well as your partner. Discuss any issues you have with your partner and when they are understanding of you then you probably will begin to feel good about yourself. This can help to improve the problem of suffering from erectile dysfunction! So there are some simple measures taken can improve outcome effectively and remember that even simple changes can make a huge impact.
It is good news that erectile dysfunction probably is not a genetic condition as there is no confirmed evidence suggesting this. We do know what are the possible causes which can be addressed by you or by the doctor – depending on what the cause may be. However, there are some things you can do to help reduce it or even stop it – especially if it is not because of a serious underlying condition.
- www.nhs.uk/erectile dysfunction
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