Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is sexual dysfunction, characterized by the inability of a man to attain or sustain an erection of the penis during sexual activity. The process is triggered by the signals transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis. It may cause stress, relationship problems or affect your self-confidence.
A recent study addresses the overall prevalence of the disease in men aged below 20 years as 18.4%, suggesting that erectile dysfunction affects 18 million men in the US. It is also known to affect older men, particularly above 40 years of age!
Signs and symptoms of ED
Having erection trouble from time to time isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. But if erectile dysfunction is an ongoing problem, then it is definitely a symptom of ED. An individual suffering from ED can encounter the following conditions:
- Difficulty in achieving an erection
- Inability in sustaining an erection
- Reduced libido
- Only being able to achieve an erection during masturbation, but not during sexual intercourse
Why the problem is caused?
Erectile dysfunction can stem out of various reasons. The major reason behind dysfunction is blood not reaching properly to the penis and blood flow can be impaired due to the following reasons:
- Anatomical – When there is something wrong with the physical structure of the penis.
- Hormonal – When the hormone level is not right or hormones are not secreted properly.
- Neurogenic – When the nervous system is affected (brain, nerves and spinal cord), sexual dysfunction problem occurs
- Age – The percentage of complete ED increases from 5% to 15% as age increases from 40 to 70 years.
- Diabetes – Men who have diabetes are two to three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than men who do not have diabetes.
- Atherosclerosis – The smaller arteries in the penis are the first to get plugged up and hence the blood flow is reduced thus making erection difficult.
- Lifestyle and ED – Lifestyle choices can also affect blood circulation, thus contributing to ED. High alcohol and caffeine consumption, along with cholesterol-rich food can impact your body.
A complete physical examination is required to uncover signs and the reasons of erectile dysfunction. A doctor may ask for certain blood tests, measuring testosterone and cholesterol levels or duplex ultrasound scan which determines the underlying reason of erectile dysfunction. Apart from that, other tests are also done to evaluate the reason behind the condition.
Treatment options of ED
There are different ways of treating impotency. Medicinal and surgical interventions are as stated below:
- Oral medications – the most common medications for treating erectile dysfunction are known as Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors. These include three wonder drugs i.e. Sildenafil, Tadalafil and Vardenafil which gives an erection when needed.
- Injection or pellets – Alprostadil, a synthetic hormone is injected or a pellet is inserted into the urethra (opening of the penis) which causes erection.
- Vacuum Devices (Pumps) -When a person fails to attain erection via medicines, then vacuum devices are used.
- Surgery – This is helpful in case ED is caused by a blockage in an artery. The procedure is recommended for young men whose blockage stems from an injury to the crotch or pelvis.
Natural Treatments for ED
For a long time, humans have tried many forms of natural remedies for erectile dysfunction. The scientific effects of many drugs and medications are not known or haven’t been scientifically proven, Therefore, you can follow these remedies:
- Nutritional Supplements: Nutritional supplements including the bioflavonoid, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and a flaxseed meal have been used to improve erectile function.
- DHEA: Certain ED patients with low levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) hormone showed improvement in erectile function after receiving supplemental doses of DHEA. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study showed that men with ED were more likely to have low levels of DHEA. However, very less research on long-term safety of DHEA is done and most experts do not recommend its use as overdose leads to suppression of pituitary function.
- Ginseng: Also called the “herbal Viagra,” Panax ginseng (“red ginseng”) has solid research behind it. Korean red ginseng is also known by several different names including Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, or Panax ginseng. It helps promote nitric oxide synthesis which causes erection.
- L- Arginine: The amino acid L-arginine, which occurs naturally in food, boosts the body’s production of nitric oxide, a compound that facilitates erections by dilating blood vessels in the penis.
- Pomegranate juice: Drinking antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Yohimbe: A derivative of the herb Yohimbe (yohimbine hydrochloride) is used to cure ED. But experts say the medication is not particularly effective, and it can cause nervousness and other problems.
- Horny Goat Weed: Italian researchers found that the main compound in horny goat weed, called icariin, acted in a similar way as drugs like Viagra.
- Ginkgo Biloba: Used in cases specially caused by the use of certain antidepressant medications.
- Acupuncture: Fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points. Acupuncture stimulates the body’s ability to resist or overcome illnesses by correcting “imbalances.” Acupuncture has helped some men with ED.
Home Remedies: There are some home remedies also which could be tried in lieu of commercial medications to bolster sex life:
- Garlic: Chewing two to three cloves of raw garlic everyday helps in treating sexual impotence and sperm production.
- White Onion: Could be taken daily with a spoon of honey on an empty stomach.
- Carrot, egg and honey: Finely chopped carrot with a half-boiled egg and a tablespoon of honey once helps increase sexual stamina.
- Asparagus: To cure impotency, asparagus in boiled form is highly useful. It also contains several vitamins and minerals.
- Drumstick: The powder of the dry bark taken with honey or consumed as a soup with milk is valuable in impotency, premature ejaculation, and thinness of semen.
- Ginger and Honey: The juice extracted from ginger mixed with honey and eaten with a half-boiled egg can help in curing impotency.
- Dried Dates: Dried dates mixed with almonds, pistachio nuts, and quince seeds is another meal preparation that helps in causing an erection.
- Raisins and Milk: Eat black raisins boiled in milk to get the desired results.
No matter what erectile dysfunction treatment is decided upon, experts also suggest that your diet should be healthy and nutritious. It is important to avoid smoking, overeating and increased alcohol consumption. other methods are also available in the market for ED treatment; some best ED drugs are in market like
If you found this article helpful, do share it with your friends, particularly your male buddies! Also, post comments in case you have any health-related queries.