Guide to Erectile Dysfunction
Hi, thank you for coming back for the latest edition of Beyond Primary Cares blog; where I highlight healthy and fun recipes, healthcare news, advice for medical conditions, as well as how membership for care works! Dr. Jeff O’Boyle is the owner of Beyond Primary Care, which is a new approach to family medicine and addiction medicine that creates the time and space your healthcare deserves. Beyond Primary Care serves patients in Ann Arbor and throughout Washtenaw, Livingston, and Wayne County.
The primary purpose of the blog is to introduce healthy lifestyle concepts and answer common questions I receive from patients that I believe are important. I want to start discussions that will help educate, benefit, and improve your well-being.
In this post I am discussing a common condition that I see at my clinic: erectile dysfunction. Let me repeat that last part- a common condition. If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, you are not alone. Those two words can make any man nervous. It affects all men but becomes increasingly prevalent as we age. At least 12 million U.S. men between 40 to 79 years of age have it, but can occur at any age. Older individuals are more likely to experience health conditions that require medication, which can cause or even worsen ED. It is a very emotional and sensitive topic to discuss.
Anatomy & Physiology
The penis consists of two parallel cylinder-shaped tissues called the corpora cavernosa that run the length of the penis, a hollow tube called the urethra that is responsible for expelling urine and ejaculate, erectile tissue surrounding this tube, and various arteries and veins. The process of erection involves increased blood flow and pressure to the penis, and those cylinder-shaped tissues mentioned above become engorged and expand- thus an erection. Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when those tissues fail to become engorged or the penis fails to maintain rigidity and resumes a normal shape.
Essential Components for Function
How ED is affecting one male may not be the reason for you. Your doctor will help to differentiate which components are affecting you and this is important in differentiating treatment options.
- Your interest and desire for sexual activity (libido)
- Ability to obtain and maintain an erection
- Ejaculation (orgasm)
Select Causes of ED
Male sexual arousal is a complex subject. Discussing in broad terms, ED can generally be separated into two categories: physical and mental health. Many instances of ED may involve causes from both categories.
- Medications: Take a look at your existing medications. Several medications may lead to ED. As example, anti-depressants like SSRIs (citalopram, fluoxetine paroxetine, sertraline) used to treat mental health concerns and Beta-blockers (metoprolol, carvidilol, labetalol) used to treat blood pressure can cause ED. Review all your medications with your doctor.
- Smoking: Compared with men who have never smoked, the risk of ED is increased by 51% in current smokers and 20% in ex-smokers. Ask your doctor for help in quitting.
- Diabetes: If you’ve ruled out other causes, there’s a chance your ED is due to diabetes. Patients with diabetes are three times more likely to develop ED. Review your risk for diabetes or work with your doctor to bring your sugars under control.
- Low Testosterone: Also called hypogonadism, is a condition that generally occurs to all men as they age. By age 80, 50% of men will have testosterone levels in the low range, however the decline is faster in some men than others. Testosterone levels can affect a man’s overall health including sex drive and sexual function.
Mental Health Causes
- Sexual Performance Anxiety: This happens when a man anticipates a problem during the sexual encounter and, as a result becomes anxious while attempting to have sex. Doubt and insecurities may take over your thoughts: “Will I get hard enough?” “Will I maintain an erection?” “How do I compare?” “What if I can’t finish?” These pervasive questions can ruin any performance. Talk to your doctor because once people understand the mental that cause anxiety and how to reduce or eliminate them
- Exercise and Nutrition: A change in eating and drinking habits can potentially reverse the contributing causes.
- Therapy: Seeing and talking to an accredited sex therapist can lead to an overall happier sex life for men and their partners.
- Medications: The availability of oral medications such as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis, make it much easier to treat erectile dysfunction. However, medications should be part of a more comprehensive long-term plan. At Beyond Primary Care, we wholesale generic Viagra 100 mg, 10 pills to our patients for $4.20.
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy: For men experiencing sexual frustration and have low testosterone, testosterone replacement therapy is a safe and effective way to return T-levels to the normal range.