What is erectile dysfunction?
If you’re having difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, this is called erectile dysfunction. It’s not a disease, but a symptom of another problem, which might be physical, psychological, or a mixture of both.
Erectile dysfunction is very common.
Is erectile dysfunction just part of getting old?
There’s no age when you’re ‘too old’ to get help with your erection or other sexual problems.
What causes erectile dysfunction?
Many things can affect your ability to get and keep an erection. When erectile dysfunction happens, there might be several contributing issues, and it’s usually a combination of physical and psychological factors. Sometimes, there’s no clear reason for erectile dysfunction. However, in most cases there’s a physical problem behind it.
- Psychosocial problems, such as performance anxiety, stress, mental health issues, and relationship problems
- Reduced blood-flow, sometimes resulting from a narrowing of the arteries
- Urological problems, such as Peyronie’s disease and pelvic trauma
- Use of drugs, alcohol and some medicines, including those used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, and prostate cancer
- Interference with nerve function caused by spinal cord trauma, multiple sclerosis, diabetic neuropathy, pelvic surgery, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease
- Problems with blood vessel function, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and sleep apnoea
- Hypogonadism, such as Klinefelter syndrome, which is a condition where the testes are not able to make enough testosterone or sperm
- Additional problems that can cause erectile dysfunction include thyroid disease, growth hormone conditions, and an excess of cortisone.
What can I do?
It’s important to talk openly to a doctor about any problems you have with sexual functioning. Even if you don’t want to have sex, erectile dysfunction might be a symptom of a medical condition, so it’s a good idea to seek professional advice.
What treatments are there?
Usually there won’t be one specific treatment that helps. For some men, there’s a reversible underlying cause that can be treated. For others, erectile dysfunction can’t be cured, but it can be managed.
There are a variety of treatments available to help you get and maintain erections. Some treatments include tablet medicines, external devices or penile injections. Oral medication, such as Viagra.