Erectile dysfunction – What men can do
In a society that is increasingly about performance – whether at work or in bed – no one likes to talk about things that limit performance. An erectile dysfunction is a limitation that, despite sexual desire, can be detected by an insufficient erection of the male member for satisfactory intercourse or an erection that cannot be sustained for long. Erectile dysfunction is only spoken of when this restriction occurs over a period of six months and in about 70% of the experiments. You can learn about the effects and causes of erectile dysfunction, how and when discussions should take place and what is in one’s own power to prevent this restriction in this blog post.
Effects & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction occurs more often than expected. A study from the United States shows that 18 million men – about 11% of all men in the United States – suffer from erectile dysfunction. If you apply that figure to Austria, that’s about 480,000 men in Austria. It is clear that erectile dysfunction is associated with age and therefore more frequently occuring in older men.
Erectile dysfunction can have both physical and psychological causes. Generally, the causes of erectile dysfunction are psychological in younger men (under 40), whereas in older men (over 40) physical causes, such as previous illnesses, tend to lead to erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction not only has a physical effect on the affected man, it can also produce psychological effects. The man’s self-esteem can be greatly impaired. He may feel unable to perform as expected and may develop anxiety and stress, which may ultimately aggravate erectile dysfunction.
Common mental causes of erectile dysfunction may include:
• Stress/ Conflicts in the professional or private environment,
• Performance pressure and fear of failure,
• personality disorders,
• Traumatic sexual experiences.
Many of the mentioned mental difficulties may also develop only after the onset of erectile dysfunction.
Common physical causes of erectile dysfunction may include:
• heart and vascular diseases (e.g. high blood pressure, atherosclerosis),
• diseases in the genital area (e.g. foreskin constriction, inflammation of the prostate),
• disorders of the nerves and brain (e.g. herniated disc, stroke),
• operations in the genital area (e.g. pelvis, abdomen),
• Metabolic and organ diseases (e.g. liver disease, thyroid disease).
Diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar), atherosclerosis (deposition of fats in the blood vessels) and vascular diseases account for 45% of the physical causes that lead to erectile dysfunction.
Search for conversations – don’t be shy
If you think you have erectile dysfunction, you should consider seeing a doctor. A urologist or your family doctor is well suited for this as a first consultation. A doctor’s diagnosis includes everything from the questioning of previous complaints/diseases and the taking of medication, to the consumption of alcohol, nicotine or drugs, to nocturnal/morning spontaneous erections and possible psychological causes.
A conversation with your partner /the partner brings benefits, as a doctor visit with that person makes sense. A second opinion and a different point of view help the doctor to make a more accurate diagnosis. Of course – it is not always easy to talk to your partner about such problems, but it should be taken seriously. The partner should listen carefully, encourage the affected person to seek help without extra pressure and not take the partner’s erectile problems personally. In this sense – silence is not gold.
During the physical examination, the doctor examines the penis, testicles, prostate and anal canal for abnormalities. It also measures blood pressure, pelvic and leg pulses and examines the mammary glands to detect any disturbances in the hormone level. A blood test is also of great importance, because the results of tests such as testosterone, prolactin, blood sugar, blood fats, liver and kidney tests and blood counts can be used to infer disease.
Self-treatment – what is in your power
The most important step for successful self-treatment is the detection and treatment of underlying diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, testosterone deficiency or mental disorders. Aiming for a healthy lifestyle (abundant activity and healthy eating), reducing weight (if overweight), reducing stress levels (if possible), and avoiding (or reducing) nicotine, alcohol and drugs are the first goals that make self-treatment successful. These changes and treatments should be performed first before symptomatic and medical treatment is considered.