What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED), previously referred to as impotence in men is a persistent inability to obtain, or maintain until completion of the sexual activity, and adequate erection (criteria A). This disturbance may cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulties (criteria B). ED is not better accounted for by another access one disorder (except another sexual dysfunction), and is not due exclusively to the direct physiological effects of the substance (including medications) or a general medical condition (criteria C). (APA, 2000, P. 545) This particular disorder occurs in the excitement phase of the sexual response cycle and is present in some form in approximately 25 to 35 million men in the United States (Epperly and Moore, 2000, P. 3006 62). It can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary erectile disorder.
Primary Erectile Dysfunction
This refers to men who have never attained a sufficient erection for intercourse; this kind of erectile dysfunction is more alarming, which is why it needs to be addressed promptly and properly with the help of a medical professional. Underlying health issues are a common cause for erectile dysfunction. Another trigger for erectile dysfunction may be relationship complexity leading to serious psychological and mental impact.
Secondary Erectile Dysfunction
it should be noted that many men occasionally experience difficulties in maintaining an erection. When difficulties persist (failure and intercourse occurs at 25% of the time or more) erectile dysfunction should be considered (Masters and Johnson, 1970). These erectile dysfunctions are more common and less complex to treat. They are mostly related to situational factors such as the birth of a child, death of a family member, loss of a job, work pressures financial or financially family stressors (Masters el al., 1995).
What Are The Symptoms Of Erectile Dysfunction?
The most common signs that you can use to identify erectile dysfunction in a man are:
- Decline in sexual desire or sexual arousal
- Difficulty in achieving an erection
- Trouble in sustaining an erection throughout sexual intercourse
What Causes An Erection?
In medical terms, getting an erection is the condition of sexual arousal where the penis gets swollen due to enhanced blood flow in its blood vessels. The stimulant in action behind this increased blood flow can be some sexual thoughts or directly touching the penis for making it sexually excited.
What Are The Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can be caused due to a problem arising at any stage of the erection process. Either emotional or physical, or both, can be possible reasons behind erectile dysfunction. Some of the common causes of erectile dysfunction are:
- smoking or tobacco consumption
- use of recreational drugs
- excessive consumption of alcohol
- high levels of stress
- cardiovascular disease
- hypertension and high blood pressure
- damage from cancer
- old age leading to a decline in sexual function
- injuries to the pelvic region
- damage of nerves and blood vessels due to surgery in the pelvic region
- being overweight or obese
- relationship issues and emotional state
How Can It Be Treated?
Treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on the root cause of the issue. If the problem is emotional, then you might need to visit a AASECT certified sex therapist. However, if the problem is an illness, then you need to consult a doctor. In some cases, you might also receive a combination of treatments, including medication, lifestyle changes, or therapy.
Physical and General Health
Focus on curing or at least controlling underlying factors and health concerns such as heart disease and diabetes, which might be causing erectile dysfunction.
Mental and Psychological Health
Erectile dysfunction can also have it’s origins in a couple’s relationship. According to this perspective, interactions between partners affect a males ability to attain or maintain an erection (Kaplan, 1974). Treatment may include couples counseling utilizing an EFT framework, psychoeducational training, and relaxation techniques. In addition, behavioral techniques such as desensitization training may be used for prolonged erection problems (Althof, 2000) medical interventions include the use of oral medications, hormone therapy (due to low testosterone levels), injection therapy, a vacuum erection device, and a penile prosthesis (Coleman, 1998). The use of sexual fantasy may also be used to increase sexual arousal. Masters and Johnson, 1970 created a skill training focus calls sensate focus to help males with more functional cognitive skills. The goal of sensate focus is to assist the male in altering his beliefs about the possibility of losing his erection and his erection not returning (Masters et al., 1995).
Lifestyle and Other Factors
Move towards a healthier lifestyle by doing regular exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, reducing smoking, quitting the use of recreational drugs, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet. While eating a healthy diet does not directly solve the issue of erectile dysfunction, it does help to control the underlying factors that are causing it.
If you need more information about male sexual health from AASECT Certified Sex Therapists or want to learn more about the treatment options available for erectile dysfunction, then call us on (805) 308-9800, visit us our location at 2660 Townsgate Rd., Suite 720 Westlake Village, CA 91361