Erectile dysfunction: Symptoms, causes and treatment

The myths have long been debunked that only older men have problems with potency. Today urologists are increasingly faced in their daily medical practice with the need to identify the causes and find ways to restore potency in young patients.  Modern technologies and methods of treatment of erectile dysfunction (impotence) with timely diagnosis can significantly improve the quality of a man’s sexual life.

Erectile dysfunction is a recurring condition characterized by impaired quality of erection, the inability to maintain or achieve it to the extent necessary for a full sexual intercourse.

Erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction

The term “erectile dysfunction” was coined in 1992 when the American National Institutes of Health proposed using it as a broader concept than impotence.  According to the WHO (World Health Organization), based on numerous authoritative world studies, every tenth man aged 21-29 complains of erectile dysfunction, every fifth man at 30-35 years old, and almost every second man at 40-70 years old . This is the scale of the problem today, and experts predict that these figures may double in the next 25 years.

It is recommended to visit a urologist’s consultation. if the following symptoms are noted:

  • an erection that is not strong enough for sexual intercourse;
  • problems or inability to achieve a satisfactory level and duration of erection;
  • premature ejaculation.

The reasons for the development of erectile dysfunction can be divided into external (exogenous) and internal (endogenous).

External causes of the development of erectile dysfunction:

  • Smoking is one of the most significant factors that have a very negative effect on erectile function.
  • Alcohol, especially “beer alcoholism”, drug addiction.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic lack of sleep, constant stressful situations at work and in family relationships.
  • Environmental factors: unbalanced irrational nutrition, food depleted in vitamins and microelements, GMO (genetically modified foods).
  • Increased background radiation, work in high-frequency radiation conditions.
  • Features of the formation of a man’s personality and the formation of his sexuality.

The most important factors of sexual behavior are laid down in childhood, when a boy observes the system of actions of older men in the family and then follows the path of either imitating the learned models or denying them. It was during this period that the origins of youthful self-doubt and timidity, fears of “being underestimated”, “not making the expected impression” are often formed.  Over time, they can take root and transform into psychological complexes or phobias, exerting a certain influence on a man’s entire life.

Internal causes of the development of erectile dysfunction:

  • Hormonal regulation disorders: hypogonadism (insufficient testosterone production by the testes of a man), a number of diseases associated with dysfunction of the pituitary and adrenal glands, some tumors (for example, pituitary adenoma).
  • Side effects of taking various medications (some antihypertensive and antiarrhythmic drugs, corticosteroids, psychotropic drugs and antidepressants, etc.).
  • Age-related and acquired changes in the tissue and structures of the penis involved in the mechanism of erection.
  • Neurological diseases and disorders (epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, trauma and operations of the brain and spinal cord, small pelvis and perineum).
  • Diseases of the cardiovascular system (hypertension, atherosclerosis, etc.).
  • Diabetes mellitus, obesity, metabolic syndrome.

The above list contains only the most common causes underlying the development of dysfunction or diseases, the symptom of which is a deterioration in the quality of erection.

According to another classification of factors for the occurrence of disorders, erectile dysfunction is divided into psychogenic and organic (somatic). The table below shows the differences between these types from each other, which largely determine the scheme of the prescribed treatment.

Psychogenic erectile dysfunctionOrganic erectile dysfunction
Sudden startGradual start
Periodic manifestationsProgressive current
Is associated with any strong psychological experience, stress, bad experienceAssociated with any disease or taking certain medications
Night / morning erection savedNo night / morning erection
Convincing erection during episodes of substitutional masturbationErection during attempts at substitutional masturbation is absent, or very short and of unsatisfactory quality.
During intercourse, if it does occur, the tension of the penis remainsPenile tension may disappear during intercourse

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Methods

Modern knowledge in the field of urology-andrology and sexology, as well as the ability to individually select a combination of pharmacological agents, therapeutic and surgical techniques, today allow us to solve many problems associated with erectile dysfunction (impotence). When choosing an effective treatment strategy, much depends on the causes and degree of manifestation of the disorder, on the age, comorbidities.

In the arsenal of urologists there are certified modern drugs that help to stimulate the restoration of erectile function or even completely pharmacologically replace the lifelong links in the mechanism of an adequate erection. Thanks to active advertising, today everyone knows the names of the most famous drugs to restore potency.  But  doctors urge people to refrain from self-medication , which can lead to negative side effects. Only professional  advice and  optimal diagnostics will guarantee that the prescribed drugs will be effective and will not harm your health.

Physiotherapy methods are widely used in medical practice to improve blood flow and the quality of erection, for example,  LOD therapy (negative pressure treatment) , shock wave therapy . A good hospital offer the opportunity to conduct complex treatment using LOD therapy, supplemented by laser and LED irradiation . The procedures are performed on a modern apparatus and show high efficiency in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, especially in the case of vascular pathology detected in the early stages.

There are also technologies for prosthetics of erectile function – surgical interventions with the installation of phalloprostheses of various modifications.  This is a radical method of overcoming the true, organic causes of erectile dysfunction, which doctors use only after a thorough comprehensive examination of the patient. The decision on prosthetics must be made with all the diagnostic information and with full awareness of the responsibility of the choice made. Because, no matter how reliable, multi-component and modern the installed falloprosthesis is, after the operation, the restoration of the natural mechanism of erection will become impossible.

To effectively restore erectile function, it is necessary to visit a urologist’s consultation and undergo a complete medical examination. The doctors of the good hospital , based on the diagnostic data, will offer the optimal treatment plan, taking into account all individual indications . Seeking professional help, the patient is guaranteed to receive complete information about the causes of the violation and reasoned answers to all questions about the prescribed procedures. Recommendations for achieving a harmonious balance of work and rest will be formed, a scheme for correct, varied and tasty nutrition will be drawn up. A well-chosen course of treatment and prophylactic measures, carried out under the supervision of professionals, will allow achievingspeedy restoration of an adequate erection .

Prevention of erectile dysfunction

Measures for the general prevention of erectile dysfunction include:

  • balanced and rational nutrition, rich in vitamins and minerals, essential amino acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids;
  • observance of the regime of work and rest, first of all, full sleep (it is in a dream that the body restores all its unique self-regulation settings and eliminates “breakdowns” in them);
  • physical activity, playing sports, including in the fresh air;
  • lack of prolonged stressful situations at work and at home;
  • refusal to abuse alcohol (including beer), smoking and taking any drugs;
  • timely prevention and treatment by specialists of diseases leading to erectile dysfunction (hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, obesity, etc.).

Separately, we should mention food products that improve erectile function and can be used as the prevention of its violation: food rich in fat and water-soluble vitamins (olive and sunflower oil, nuts, rose hips, currants, fresh vegetables and fruits, cereals and legumes), sources omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish oil, sesame, corn oil) and essential amino acids (milk and dairy products, quail eggs, meat and fish). Of course, we are talking only about natural ingredients, and not about “immortal” genetically modified products. It should be remembered that overeating and overweight is also a direct path to potency disorders.

Erectile dysfunction is often the result of some disease or disorder in the regulation of the erection process. Violations rarely occur instantly and permanently.  Therefore, at the first manifestations of dysfunction, a man is advised to immediately consult a doctor, including just for advice, so as not to miss the moment to start a timely, effective and safe treatment.

Dr. Ashwani Kumar is highly skilled and experienced in treating major and minor general medicine diseases.