What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or keep an erection that is hard enough for sexual activity. It is very common. One in 10 men may experience erectile dysfunction at some point in time.
What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?
The main symptom of erectile dysfunction is being consistently unable to get an erection when you want to engage in sexual activity. You may also have problems maintaining an erection, or your erections may not be firm enough for intercourse.
A doctor will diagnose erectile dysfunction if you cannot achieve an erection more than 50% of the time.
What are causes of erectile dysfunction?
Most men have occasional episodes where they cannot get an erection. This may be caused by stress, alcohol consumption, tiredness, or relationship issues. These episodes may be distressing, but they don't usually require treatment.
Erectile dysfunction is also often caused by an underlying health condition, such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Injury to the penis, prostate, or bladder
Treatment for prostate cancer may leave you unable to get an erection.
Certain medications can cause erectile dysfunction, including medications that treat high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, and certain cancers such as prostate cancer. Psychiatric medications for depression and anxiety can also cause erectile dysfunction.
Can any complications arise if left untreated?
If you don't treat erectile dysfunction, your sex life may be unsatisfactory. In addition, you may have problems in your romantic relationships, and your self esteem can suffer. You may not be able to get your partner pregnant if you wish to have children.
What medications treat erectile dysfunction?
There are prescription medications that treat erectile dysfunction. Oral medications include:
If your erectile dysfunction is related to hormone levels, testosterone replacement therapy such as Androgel may be helpful.
Common medications may include