Erectile Dysfunction is a common problem in men, with the incidence increasing with age. There are 4 main causes of ED: psychological, hormonal, vascular and neurological. Many men will have more than one cause, although one usually predominates. An erection is a hydraulic process. Arteries to the penis relax, allowing blood to flow in. At the same time, the veins become compressed, preventing the blood from flowing out. This causes the pressure to rise in the penis and the penis enlarges and becomes more rigid, similar to a balloon being filled with air. After a man ejaculates or stops being stimulated, the arteries constrict, decreasing blood flow into the penis. At the same time the veins relax, allowing blood to flow out more easily. This is akin to the balloon being deflated.
In men less than 40 years old, psychological factors are is by far the most common problem, usually due to “performance anxiety.” Both younger and older men may also have a problem with low testosterone. Testosterone is needed to maintain a healthy sex drive and the proper responsiveness of the penis to stimulation. Low testosterone can lead to a decreased sex drive, ED, depression, weight gain and a feeling of lethargy. As men grow older, vascular and neurologic problems become much more common.
Erectile dysfunction can happen at any age, even after years of satisfying sex. Age itself is never the cause of ED. Recent medical research shows that more than 80% of men suffering from ED can trace its origin to a physical problem or disorder, and it’s maddening! Men tend to think that it’s only aging, but you’re not alone. ED can happen to men at any age, for a variety of reasons.
For most men, the specific physical problem or disorder can be easily identified, therefore treatment is easier than most men think. We’ll run a few tests and once diagnosed, recommend proper treatment and medications to help you return to a satisfying sex life.
A variety of risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
1. Medical conditions, particularly diabetes or heart problems
2. Using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs
3. Being overweight, especially if you’re obese
4. Certain medical treatments, such as prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer
5. Injuries, particularly if they damage the nerves that control erections
6. Psychological conditions, such as stress, anxiety, or depression
7. Certain medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and medications for conditions like high blood pressure can also cause ED.
There’s a broad range of non-invasive treatment options for men experiencing erectile dysfunction. Dr. Bankhead will recommend treatment options based on your specific needs and chart a plan for improving your situation. Non-invasive treatment options include:
- Oral medications
- Vacuum erection devices
If medications, injections, and other non-surgical therapies are not successful in resolving ED — and psychological causes are not suspected — Dr. Bankhead may consider penile implant surgery. Penile implants can help you return to an active sex life, and studies show a high rate of satisfaction among patients and their partners.
Most importantly, many men are frequently reluctant to discuss their sexual problems, particularly ED. However, starting a dialogue with Dr. Bankhead allows you to begin the ED evaluation process — so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible.
You don’t have to live with ED. Give us a call or send us an email to find a solution that fits your lifestyle.