By Austin G. Hackney

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

While most common in later life, a man may experience problems with his erection at any age. It is normal to have difficulties sustaining an erection from time to time. Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to get an erection hard enough to have sex. It’s sometimes also called impotence. While men do not tend to talk openly about the issue, it is widespread. Once diagnosed, there are effective treatments available for the condition.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Many factors can lead to erectile dysfunction. It may be associated with other health issues, such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, or diabetes. It can also follow a physical injury, either to the penis itself or the nervous system. Problems with your erection may also be the side effect of certain medicines. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are linked to erectile dysfunction, too.

Are There Any Other Symptoms?

While there may be underlying conditions behind it, the only symptom of erectile dysfunction itself is the inability to sustain a hard penis. However, even if a full erection isn’t achieved, a man suffering from erectile dysfunction will still experience sexual desire. He may also still be able to achieve orgasm and ejaculate semen.

How is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?

If you are having persistent difficulty achieving and sustaining an erection, you should consult your doctor. An interview and a physical exam will be used to diagnose the condition. You may also be referred to a mental health professional to assess whether the condition is linked to depression, anxiety, or issues of low self-esteem.

How is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?

The most common and effective treatments for erectile dysfunction include counseling, lifestyle changes (such as cutting down on alcohol or stopping smoking) and medicines. In rare cases, surgery may be advised. However, this will only be recommended as a last resort if other interventions have failed.

How to Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

Most cases of erectile dysfunction are the consequence of physical problems. While there is no certain way to avoid it, living a healthy, active lifestyle may help. Stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol, eating well, and exercising regularly are good ways to improve overall well- being and decrease the risks. Counseling, meditation, and a positive outlook may help you avoid the psycho-emotional causes of erectile dysfunction.

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, you should understand that you are not alone. It is not an uncommon condition. With a proper diagnosis and the right treatment, it is usually temporary and curable. The best first step is to make an appointment to see your doctor.