Erectile dysfunction, ED, or impotence, is a category of sexual dysfunction which is associated with the inability to develop or sustain an erection during sexual activity. Erectile dysfunction is a physical issue, but often causes psychological damage from the resulting self-esteem blow and relationship issues. For a disease to qualify as erectile dysfunction, it must be repeated over a long period of time. A single instance of whiskey dick, for example, would not be considered erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction was once considered a crime in the 16th century and grounds for a divorce. Modern therapy made its first advance in 1983 when Giles Brindley discovered the effects of papaverine. His work would lay the foundation for later development of drugs such as sildenafil and vardenafil.

Physical erectile dysfunction is typically caused by old age, kidney failure, surgery, hyperprolactinemia, cavernosal disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, neurological problems (trauma), smoking, unbalanced hormones, and as a side effect from drugs, particularly nicotine. Psychological erectile dysfunction is a more infrequent version where there are no physical causes. It occurs from thoughts and feelings alone. Psychological erectile dysfunction requires psychotherapy rather than drugs, although placebos can often solve the issue to a degree. Physical erectile dysfunction is typically treated by addressing the underlying issue or with sildenafil, a drug designed to promote blood flow. Sildenafil can be taken as tablets or injected.

Diagnosis for erectile dysfunction begins with determining whether the patient is able to (however infrequently) obtain an erection. This could happen while asleep, for example. If so, then the underlying physical infrastructure is likely functional and the issue is probably mental. Thus, the patient would most likely be diagnosed as having psychological erectile dysfunction.

Ultrasounds are often used to diagnose erectile dysfunction. It allows the doctor to evaluate blood flow, venous leakage, atherosclerosis, and scarring. Injections of prostaglandin may be used in conjunction with ultrasounds to temporarily induce an erection for better examination. The bulbocavernosus reflex test can be used to determine if the penis nerves are functioning correctly. Men normally have five to six erections while asleep, particularly during rapid eye movement or REM. If a man does not have these erections, it may indicate an issue with blood flow or nerve damage. However, many otherwise healthy men do not have these erections, so the simple absence of them does not indicate that one is suffering from erectile dysfunction. Magnetic resonating angiography is a technique similar to magnetic resonating imaging and uses magnetic fields and radio waves to analyze blood vessels.

Erectile dysfunction treatment varies based on the cause. Aerobic exercise is often useful to prevent the disease from occuring in the first place, but has not been studied as an after-the-fact treatment. Smokers can almost always benefit from quitting. Vacuum erection devices are sometimes used as well. Drugs such as sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil are often used as a first-response treatment. Finally, if all other methods have failed, surgery is possible. However this often has unwanted side effects and should only be used as a last resort. Drugs such as “herbal Viagra” will at best will do nothing and at worst contain toxic substances such as battery acid.

Published by Archer Fowler

My special interests: erectile dysfunction, urology, male health, alopecia.

Join the Conversation

8 Comments

  1. My partner, although in his 30s, suffered from erectile dysfunction. When he brought me home after our date to have sex, it created such an awkward air when he wasn’t able to become erect and he became frustrated with himself and explained how embarrassed he was. He reassured me he was very attracted to me and wanted to have a good night together, but that he wouldn’t be able to do anything for me. We spent the rest of the night watching a movie and going to sleep, but it was a disappointment.

  2. One night, after drinking and partying too much, it happened to me as well! If you think it will never hit you you are very very wrong 😀

  3. i have had this problem of erectile dysfunction for 5yrs ,it was disheartening cause its something i have never thought i could have,i sought so many solution only to be turned down,i even opted for herbal medicine but i didnt work,it almost ruined my relationship with my patner,i sought even prayers ,my self esteem was down ,but i found a tablet from one doctor in INdia and it helped me really well.and am much better

  4. I began to deal with it in 2013. I was a young lad and suffered with it for years. I remember in 2015 someone said I should try the “blue pill” and I didn’t know what that was. I found out and decided I didn’t want to try that. I was looking for a permanent solution, and the blue pill wasn’t for me.

  5. I think that more and more people including ones like me are suffering from erectile dysfunction. I personally blame this on the extreme availability of porn and a culture of instant gratification.

  6. I have been struggling with Erectile Dysfunction for the last three years. ED gets worse when I am stressed for my job. I hope to find soon a solution.

  7. Erectile dysfunction has never been a problem for me. Ever since getting fired from my job I have not been able to maintain an erection. I am not sure what is going on with me.

  8. Dealing with erectile dysfunction has not been a pleasant process. The inability to give my wife an orgasm and please her sexually, has been one of the worst experiences of my life. Currently, I am looking for options and I am desperate to pretty much try anything that can and will help. I don’t know if our marriage will survive this much longer.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *