What Is Erectile Dysfunction? Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

March 31, 2022

What Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which the quality and duration of an erection is impaired. The problem is accompanied by the inability to achieve an erection to the extent necessary for a full-fledged sexual intercourse. The disorder is quite common among men aged 30+, although recently the disease has become “younger” and is no longer a pathology exclusively for older people. Nevertheless, modern methods of diagnostics and complex treatment can effectively solve the problem of erectile dysfunction with its subsequent prevention. How is it possible to identify the disease? How to treat and prevent it? Read our article.

Note! Erectile dysfunction and impotence are completely different diseases. In particular, erectile dysfunction is considered a broader concept since its manifestation can be a decrease in sexual desire, a decrease in the quality and frequency of nocturnal erections, etc. Impotence is an extreme degree of erectile dysfunction, when sexual intercourse is impossible under any circumstances.

Сauses of erectile dysfunction

Conventionally, the causes of the disease are divided into three groups – organic, psychogenic and medicinal.

Organic causes of erectile dysfunction include:

  • disturbances in the hormonal system;
  • neurological diseases;
  • structural changes in the penis associated with injuries, anomalies in the development of the penis, advanced age of the patient;
  • diseases of the heart and blood vessels;
  • metabolic disorders, etc.

Psychogenic causes of erectile dysfunction include:

  • increased anxiety;
  • strong feelings;
  • transferred stresses;
  • acute and chronic depressive states;
  • unsuccessful experience of sexual contacts in the past, etc.

Medicinal causes of erectile dysfunction are directly related to the use of certain groups of drugs, in particular, corticosteroids, antidepressants, psychotropic, antiarrhythmic, antihypertensive drugs, etc.

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It is important! There are also many factors that contribute to the progression of erectile dysfunction in young men, middle-aged men and the elderly, in particular, smoking, alcohol consumption, irregular sleep, environmental factors, lack of exercise, overweight. In young patients, the peculiarity of the psychological formation of the personality, the formation of his sexuality, also plays an important role. One way or another, all these factors and causes are subject to correction under the guidance of an experienced urologist.

Symptoms and types of erectile dysfunction

Regardless of the causes of erectile dysfunction, the problem brings great psychological and physical discomfort. A man fears sexual intercourse, is unable to lead a healthy sex life, avoids personal relationships, which directly affects other areas of activity. However, if you study the causes and track the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, the medical assistance provided will help to solve the problem effectively.

Symptoms of psychogenic erectile dysfunction:

  • sudden onset of erectile dysfunction, while the morning erection in a man is of high quality and relatively stable;
  • a sharp weakening of erection during foreplay with a real partner or when thinking about sexual intercourse;
  • an erection is achieved and remains of high quality during an act of self-satisfaction or while a man is watching sex videos.

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction of the organic type:

  • lack of morning erection;
  • reduced libido;
  • inability to achieve an erection during self-satisfaction;
  • difficulty maintaining an erection during intercourse;
  • complete disappearance of erection during foreplay and intercourse;
  • lack of ejaculation and / or premature ejaculation;
  • lack of orgasm.

ED diagnosis

The choice of treatment strategy begins with a comprehensive diagnosis. It is important for a doctor to determine the exact cause (or several causes) of erectile dysfunction, to assess the degree of the disease. This always takes into account age, comorbidities, individual characteristics of the patient’s body and other factors that provoke erectile dysfunction.

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Diagnosis of erectile dysfunction usually includes:

  • collection of anamnesis by a specialist (past diseases, chronic pathologies, experience in taking medications, possible injuries, lifestyle features, assessment of the patient’s psychological state, etc.);
  • laboratory tests (general and biochemical blood tests, hormone tests, including the determination of the level of testosterone, prolactin, luteinizing hormone and a number of other mandatory tests);
  • qualified examination (to exclude or confirm anomalies of the penis, phimosis, fibrosis, testicular hypoplasia and other disorders);
  • also, a doctor may recommend hardware diagnostics of erectile dysfunction.

Treatment of erectile dysfunction

There are two main ways to cope with the disease: surgical intervention and conservative therapy. The rightt treatment is determined by the doctor based on the results of all tests and instrumental studies.

Non-surgical or conservative methods include:

  • taking drugs that increase blood flow to the genitals (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Stendra, etc.).
  • sexual therapy – it is necessary when the cause of erectile dysfunction is psychological. Treatment is carried out together with a partner.
  • the introduction of drugs into the penis by injection – in this case, vasodilators are used.
  • use of vacuum erectors – devices that help the penis achieve an erection. They are used immediately before sexual intercourse.

Surgery is used to treat erectile dysfunction caused by impaired normal blood flow. Statistics confirm that the effectiveness of this method reaches 80%.
Prosthetics is considered the most radical operation. This technique is performed in the rarest and most difficult cases. Recovery of sexual function after the procedure occurs in almost 95% of cases. A two-cylinder prosthesis is implanted in the penis. A man can change the size of the penis himself if necessary. Inflating the prosthesis stimulates an erection.

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Modern methods of ED treatment help every man regain lost sexual opportunities. However, do not delay a doctor consultation. Timely medical help will help to quickly cope with the problem and prevent complications.

Prevention of erectile dysfunction

Medical specialists have developed a whole range of measures that will help to significantly reduce the likelihood of impotence. Prevention is aimed at strengthening the body and eliminating all possible causes of dysfunction. Treatment helps to restore sexual health quickly. But isn’t it better to preent the disease? To do this, men must follow the following recommendations:

  1. Make choices in favor of proper nutrition. It is recommended to consume more dairy products, honey, herbs, vegetables;
  2. Regularly visit a urologist. This will help to detect diseases in a timely manner and successfully cure them;
  3. Refuse from bad habits. Drugs, alcohol and nicotine can cause impotence;
  4. Modernize sexual life. Do not replace full-fledged sexual intercourse with masturbation;
  5. Do sport. There is also a set of exercises that have a stimulating effect on potency.

Preventive measures do not require serious restrictions from a man. Compliance with simple rules will help to significantly reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction at any age.


erectile dysfunction, erectile dysfunction treatment, Men’s Health, potency, sexual life