It’s a subject many men fear to even think about; erectile dysfunction, or ED. Around half of men in their 50s and up to 70% of those in their 70s suffer from some degree of ED. It’s estimated that at least 30 million men in the US are experiencing the condition at some level. But the truth is, erectile dysfunction isn’t something that can be completely avoided, not even in younger men.
It’s easy to get so caught up in worries and anxieties surrounding erectile dysfunction that we forget ED is just another medical condition, like any other. It can affect men of any age and exist in any number of forms. From difficulty maintaining an erection, to a complete lack of ability to get one in the first place, understanding the causes and finding an appropriate solution can be a journey – but not a hopeless one.
So, what exactly causes ED? The list of potential root causes is lengthy and can also be difficult to narrow down. Physiological components like age, lifestyle, or medical conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease can often be the underlying reason for ED. Stress, anxiety, or even medicines meant to treat psychological issues that can also contribute.
Identifying the root cause of your ED can be the key to successful treatment. One of the first steps is a physical exam, as the doctor can rule out physical factors such as low testosterone, vascularizing (clogged arteries), or neurological issues (damage or degenerative diseases of the nervous system). Psychological evaluations might also be recommended to assess the impact of stress, anxiety, or depression on erectile health.
No matter the cause, there are effective treatment options. These range from prescription medications like sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra), to lifestyle changes like reduced stress levels and increased exercise, as well as in-office treatment such as penile injections or shockwave therapy.
Choosing the right treatment and experimenting with different methods is important. It can take a few attempts to find the one that’s most suitable to you.
When it comes to ED, many men must also grapple with the psychological factors surrounding the condition. Like any medical issue, shame, stigma, and embarrassment are all far too common feelings. Many people simply do not talk about ED, however, the virus of silence can prevent men from seeking medical help and reduce their reliance on available treatment options. Therefore, it’s essential to reach out to professionals who understand the sensitive and complex nature of ED.
It’s also important to realize that ED is common and treatable. It’s not only the older men that suffer, but men of all ages and backgrounds with a variety of causes need not feel ashamed about the condition.
Erectile dysfunction can be the cause of many worries and anxieties, but with the correct diagnosis and treatment it can often be effectively addressed. Why suffer in silence anymore; seek therapy and make sure you talk about the issue, and be open to different treatment options. There’s no need to live with ED or to let it hold you back.