Erectile dysfunction: symptoms, causes, and treatment

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Erectile dysfunction is not a situation many of us are comfortable discussing. For a lot of men, their virility and their masculinity go hand-in-hand, so the idea that they can’t “get it up” seems to suggest they’re somehow less masculine. However, it’s an incredibly common blight, not only for those of advanced age but for men of all ages and from all backgrounds.

In fact, 52% of men experience erectile dysfunction at some point in their life. So you’re more likely to suffer from it than not. Still, while it can be frustrating, understanding it can help you not only live with it but potentially overcome it completely.

The symptoms

While many men might struggle to get and maintain an erection at some point due to any number of factors (including alcohol and stress), if you have noticed it becoming a common issue that’s affecting your sex life and your mental health, you could have erectile dysfunction (ED). Note that ED is often accompanied by a low sex drive and doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get an erection at all, only when it’s desired.

The causes

There are several factors that can lead to ED, many of which are simple lifestyle factors such as how much you’ve been drinking or how stressed you feel at work. It can also be caused by medical problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure and by mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Studies have also shown that obese men and those that smoke are at a higher risk of ED and that certain medications (particularly SSRI antidepressants) can lead to it as well.

The treatments

As the causes are so varied, the treatment will also vary depending on the root cause. However, there are several things that doctors agree generally help: –

Get healthy – If you are overweight then shedding a few pounds will certainly help, as well as eating a healthier diet, stopping smoking, and committing to drinking less alcohol.

Talk about it – Feeling pressure to perform can be a problem in and of itself. So, talk to your partner and let them know you’re trying to rectify the problem and that it’s nothing to do with them. You might also want to consider seeing a psychiatrist if you feel the problem may be psychological rather than physical.

See a GP – If you have suffered from ED for a while and it’s seriously affecting your well-being, consider making an appointment with your doctor. They should be able to prescribe you erectile dysfunction medications that can act as a crutch to help you regain your confidence.

Don’t worry about it – More than half of men will experience ED so don’t be ashamed about it. Just know that it will pass and there’s no rush. Take your time and make small changes until you start to see positive results.

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