Erectile Dysfunction: Causes and Treatments

Dr. Krishan Sharma    09-05-2017 Consult

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is commonly called impotence. It's a condition in which a man can't achieve or maintain an erection during sexual performance. Symptoms may also include reduced sexual desire or libido

What Causes ED?
1. Genetic basis: involvement of ACE gene, Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS) gene.
2. Neurobiological basis: Disease or events that cause disturbances in vascularity such as, acute myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accidents, hypertension, can cause ED. Endocrinological disturbances such as hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism, hyperprolactinemia are also know to cause ED. 
3. Psychological factors: Performance anxiety, antecedent life changes (for example - divorce or loss of employment) and developmental vulnerabilities are the three common psychological factors associated with ED. Performance anxiety has been referred to as a specific cause of ED and is characterized by a focus on negative thoughts relating to erectile failure that interfere with sexual stimulation, in addition to anxiety and worry about the consequences of failure.

Lifestyle changes to treat Erectile Dysfunction

1.Exercise improves blood flow, which is vitally important to a strong erection, and improves blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide in blood vessels, which he says is exactly how Viagra works. 
2.Eat A Balanced Diet - The foods you eat can have a direct impact on erectile dysfunction. A diet rich in fruit, veggies, whole grains, and fish, and with fewer servings of red meat and refined grains, decreases the risk for ED.
3.Stick to a Sleep Schedule - Hormone secretion is controlled by the body's internal clock, and sleep patterns help the body determine when to release certain hormones. Adhering to a set sleep schedule is a natural treatment for ED in that it can help ensure that those signals are clear and consistent.
4. Quit Smoking - Erectile dysfunction can be the result of vascular disease, which occurs when blood supply to the penis becomes restricted because of blockage or narrowing of the arteries. Smoking and even smokeless tobacco can also cause the narrowing of important blood vessels and have the same negative impact.
5. Monitor Your Meds - Erectile dysfunction can occur as a side effect of medication taken for another health condition. Common culprits are high blood pressure meds, antidepressants, some diuretics, beta-blockers, heart medications, cholesterol meds, anti-psychotic drugs, hormone drugs, corticosteroids, chemotherapy, and medications for male pattern baldness, among others.

If you think your medication might be causing ED, talk to your doctor, but don't discontinue using it on your own.

Talk to your doctor
If you have symptoms of ED, it's important to check with your doctor before trying any treatments on your own. This is because ED can be a sign of other health problems. For instance, heart disease or high cholesterol could cause ED symptoms. With a diagnosis, your doctor could recommend a number of steps that would likely improve both your heart health and your ED. These steps include lowering your cholesterol, reducing your weight, or taking medications to unclog your blood vessels.

If other health issues aren't found to be the cause of your ED, your doctor will likely prescribe some common treatments. However, you may also choose natural options - just be sure to discuss them with your doctor first.