All About Erectile Dysfunction: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, And More

Date
June
6
2022
Compiled By Michael Stuart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Donald Moore, MD FACT CHECKED

Sex life is as important as any other sphere. It is not just a physiological need but also very important for emotional and mental health.

But not all people enjoy it the same. One of the main reasons for unsatisfactory performance is a medical one.

The very common one is erectile dysfunction.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

It is a medical condition in which a person doesn’t have the capability of getting an erection or maintaining it during sexual arousal.

The penis either doesn’t stay firm enough for making out or may not get firm at all. Millions of cases are reported now and then. The reasons for the condition also vary.

Erectile dysfunction might be a common issue and several treatments are available for it. It is not a fatal disease and is curable in most cases.

Even though it is not very harmful on its own, it still should not be ignored. Several men report depression, affected relationships, focus while working, and disappointment.

It affects the overall look of life. It is sometimes used interchangeably with the term impotence but ED is more specific.

It speaks specifically of the inability[1] to get and maintain an erection. It can be both the cause or a symptom of other diseases.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

There are not one but several treatments[2] available for erectile dysfunction. The extent, time, and method of treatment depend on the cause and requirements.

Let us break it down into simple steps-

  1. It’s All In The Mind

    The biggest and most visible change can come into life by orienting towards a positive mindset. It helps to keep the stress away and also lifts the mood.

    Even studies suggest that psychologically if a person is motivated enough, it affects the performance for good. Mere positive thoughts can help treat Erectile Dysfunction.

  2. Better Lifestyle

    A major proportion of causes of this problem are associated with a messed up lifestyle. Practices like smoking, drinking, and a stressed lifestyle with affected sleeping patterns are all causes of ED.

    When a person starts eating, sleeping, and drinking better, it is likely to reduce[3] half of the problems. Exercising regularly can also help in boosting stamina and hormones.

  3. Do It With The Diet

    Nutrition matters a great deal in all aspects. Some superfoods may help to a great extent in solving this largely faced problem.

    • Watermelon- It is considered a great testosterone booster. People often call it natural Viagra.
    • Spinach- There isn’t a doubt about the health benefits of spinach. It provides all the nutrition with an added testosterone boost.
      It can be added to various recipes. A glass of spinach juice at any time of the day will also do the job.
    • Berries- These tasty little berries can also help in increasing the low testosterone levels. Its combination with oatmeal is even better.
    • Garlic- They are known to improve the blood flow to the sexual organs which can be great for getting an erection.
    • Onions- Regular consumption of Onions may help your body in boosting sperm count and testosterone. Therefore, men suffering from impotence can also benefit from it.
    • Oily Fish- These are a great option for people looking to boost their testosterone and omega-3 fatty acids but not fat.
      As it has unsaturated fats or fats in form of fatty acids, they do not affect people suffering from cholesterol issues.
    • Chia Seeds- These seeds are known for numerous health benefits[4]. Chia seed is also known as powerhouse of nutrition.
    • Avocados- They are rich in vitamin E. This vitamin can improve sex ability and sex hormones too.
    • Nuts- As crazy and crispy as it sounds, it’s true. The tiniest bit can add the maximum benefits. Brazil nuts and almonds are the perfect choices for this.
    • GinsengGinseng has been widely accepted to improve the sexual performance of men. In this[5] governmental article, the government acknowledges the same.
    • Tongkat AliTongkat Ali is another sexual performance improvement substance. This paper[6] maintains the stand that Tongkat Ali shows the clinical effect when it comes to improvement in erectile function.

    Eating a balanced diet is always a wise choice to prevent and cure.

  4. Ask Ayurveda

    The most ancient and effective practice has the solution to almost all existing problems. There are combinations of certain herbs to treat erectile dysfunction.

    The best-known[7] ones are shilajit and ashwagandha. Ashwagandha’s name itself means the smell of a horse. It is known to provide youthfulness and stamina and boosts testosterone in males.

    With aging, males generally develop low testosterone and erectile dysfunction. But several studies have shown that shilajit may improve it.

    Not only these two but there also are several other herbs whose mixture is used in powder form to treat erectile dysfunction.

  5. Oral Supplements

    They are considered the best treatment for treating erectile dysfunction. Several pills are available for boosting the levels of testosterone.

  6. Injections

    There are injections made to get an erection. These are called penile injections. They are injected into the penis for increasing the blood flow which helps in attaining an erection.

    Injections contain drugs like papaverine and alprostadil. However, they should not be used as a part of self-treatment. Consulting the doctor is necessary.

  7. VCD

    Vacuum constriction pumps are used on the penis to get and maintain an erection for up to half an hour. It is supposed to be placed on the penis and then air is pumped out.

    This creates a vacuum which increases the blood flow in the genital part and helps to get an erection.

  8. Therapy

    This involves talking to a therapist about past habits like drinking alcohol and smoking.

    They also talk about the relationship with the partner, any stress prevailing, and the current impact on the relationship. It can even involve couple-counseling sessions.

  9. Take Care Of SSS

    You might be wondering what triple s is. They stand for stress, sleep, and steroids. Too much stress, lack of sleep, and steroids used for the treatment of diseases can cause erectile dysfunction.

    Monitoring and having a talk with your doctor about these can solve your problem.

  10. Penile Implants

    This is a surgical process involving a device implanted inside the penis. It is generally tried after all other oral supplementation and therapies yield no result.

    The device fitted has a pump and tubes with a saline solution which can be inflated and deflated as per need. For doing so, you need to press the pump hidden in the scrotum.

  11. Surgery

    This might be the last option for men with a severe level of erectile dysfunction. In case of prostate cancer, past injury, or blocked arteries in the penis need surgical attention.

Erectile Dysfunction Causes

There is not one but multiple causes for ED.

  1. Deficiency Of The Sex Hormone

    Low testosterone levels are one possible cause of ED. The person with a lower test count may report difficulty[8] in getting and maintaining the erection.

  2. Cancer

    Several types of cancer are known to affect the stamina and strength of the person and low testosterone levels.

    Prostate cancer affects the prostate gland which produces the seminal fluid which is very important for sex drive. Its treatment may impact the erection.

  3. Stress

    Stress is like a termite. It can make a person’s life hollow gradually. It shows an effect on sex life as well.

    A person undergoing stressful situations may have no sexual desires or have erectile dysfunction.

  4. Less Blood Flow Into The Penis

    To get an erection and maintain it during arousal, it is important to have adequate blood flow into the arteries of the penis. It leads to swelling which causes an erection.

  5. Neurogenic Disease

    When the nervous system has any type of issues like nerve damage, impairment can lead to ED.

    This is because the brain may not be able to coordinate during arousal or enough blood is not reaching down to the penis.

  6. Artery Blockage Or Past Injuries

    Any sort of blockage or injury in the past like a spinal cord injury may cause ED.

  7. Diseases

    High BP, diabetes, kidney diseases, Peyronie’s disease, and even STDs like chlamydia, HIV, and gonorrhea may lead to ED.

  8. Medications

    Several treatments include medications like antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, and many more that might cause ED.

  9. Bad Habits

    Habits like consuming alcohol, taking drugs like cocaine, smoking, or taking injections for bodybuilding.

Erectile Dysfunction Pills

They are generally considered safe and effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. Pills available are

  • Viagra- is the brand name of sildenafil. It reportedly works the fastest and shows effect in half an hour.
  • Tadalafil(Cialis)– takes 0.5-2 hours to show effect.
  • Vardenafil- is available under the brands Levitra and Staxyn ODT. Generally starts working in an hour.

These are available under different brands like manforce, for men, and many more.

Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms

  • Not being able to get an erection during arousal.
  • Getting an erection but not all the time.
  • The erection is not firm enough.
  • Difficulty in maintaining it for a longer duration.
  • Reduced sex drive and duration.

Erectile Dysfunction Test

It is usually self-diagnosable. But sometimes the doctor might take blood and urine tests to reach out to the basic problem and diagnose ED.

Other possible tests are ultrasonography to check blood flow, and Arteriography to check[9] the blood flow through X-Rays, MRI, and CT scans.

The self-testing method can be NPT where the person places a roll of stamps around the penis. If it doesn’t break in the morning, it means you didn’t have an erection during the night.

This may indicate ED. Though, it is not a clear sign of ED. It is always better to get it checked medically.

Erectile Dysfunction Exercise

  1. Cardio Workout

    They are effective in improving circulation and blood flow. This may help in ED as the blood will flow to the penis improving the erection.

    Basic exercises like walking, swimming, and jumping can strengthen the pelvic floor and even help lose weight.

    So if obesity is the reason for erectile dysfunction, it may help with that too.

  2. Tabata Workout

    It can be understood as a combination of a variety of workouts to get maximum benefits in the least time. Choosing the exercises can be as per choice or trainer.

  3. Hitting The Gym

    Going to the gym and lifting weights can be great for the flow of blood and stamina. It can help with ED.

  4. Kegel Exercises

    The more you train your pelvic area, the better will be the results. It will help in strengthening the muscles and increasing the circulation of blood.

+9 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies. 

  1. Faysal A. Yafi, Lawrence Jenkins, Maarten Albersen, et al. Erectile dysfunction. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2016; 2: 16003. Published online 2016 Feb 4. doi: 10.1038/nrdp.2016.3.
  2. Peter H. C. Lim. Asian herbals and aphrodisiacs used for managing ED. Transl Androl Urol. 2017 Apr; 6(2): 167–175. doi: 10.21037/tau.2017.04.04.
  3. Maria Ida Maiorino, Giuseppe Bellastella, and Katherine Esposito. Lifestyle modifications and erectile dysfunction: what can be expected? Asian J Androl. 2015 Jan-Feb; 17(1): 5–10. Published online 2014 Sep 9. doi: 10.4103/1008-682X.137687.
  4. Maša Knez Hrnčič,* Maja Ivanovski, Darija Cör, and Željko Knez. Chia Seeds (Salvia Hispanica L.): An Overview—Phytochemical Profile, Isolation Methods, and Application. Molecules. 2020 Jan; 25(1): 11. Published online 2019 Dec 18. doi: 10.3390/molecules25010011.
  5. Hye Won Lee, Myeong Soo Lee, Tae‐Hun Kim, et al. Ginseng for erectile dysfunction. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 May; 2017(5): CD012654. Published online 2017 May 9. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012654.
  6. Surachai Kotirum, Shaiful Bahari Ismail, Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk. Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Oct;23(5):693-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.07.009. Epub 2015 Jul 31. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26365449/.
  7. Swati Dongre, Deepak Langade, * Sauvik Bhattacharyya. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015: 284154. Published online 2015 Oct 4. doi: 10.1155/2015/284154.
  8. J C Brooke, D J Walter, D Kapoor, H Marsh, V Muraleedharan, T H Jones. Testosterone deficiency and severity of erectile dysfunction are independently associated with reduced quality of life in men with type 2 diabetes. Andrology. 2014 Mar;2(2):205-211. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-2927.2013.00177.x. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24574152/.
  9. Erectile Dysfunction. Last updated January 3, 2017. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/erectiledysfunction.html.

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