Erectile dysfunction refers to a condition where a man is unable to have and maintain an erection during a sexual activity. This usually happens following an initial ejaculation. Erectile dysfunction leaves an individual or a couple unsatisfied following a sexual contact.

With statistics putting the figure of sexual dysfunction in males at 31%, it is quite surprising how the problem is farfetched among the population. However, most individuals are hesitant to discuss with their partners, friends, or health professionals. It is a common problem that couples have to live with throughout their lifetime.

What are the causes?

Erectile dysfunction can be either psychologically or physically triggered.  Physical causes include medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and vascular disease, neurological disorders, hormonal changes, alcoholism and drug abuse. Some chronic diseases such as liver and kidney failure and medications in treatment of some illnesses such as depression can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Psychological causes include work related stress, anxiety, major concern about sexual performances, conflicts in relationships, past sexual experiences, depression and marked feelings of guilt with regard to sex as a sin among the unmarried couples. Other causes of erectile dysfunction include atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) or penis injury.

How to Diagnosis?

There are a number of tests involved in evaluating the cause and severity of erectile dysfunction.  These include:

Blood test: they check for hormonal imbalances in the blood system

Vascular tests: involve the evaluation of blood flow in to the penis. It helps in establishing blockages which can cause erectile dysfunction.

Nerve tests: commonly used in diabetic neuropathy to assess the strength of nerve impulses in the genital areas of a male body.

Penile rigidity test: it measures erections that occur naturally during sleep.

It is intended to evaluate if erectile dysfunction is psychologically or physically triggered.

Treatment available:

Erectile dysfunction can be successfully treated by dealing with the underlying psychological or physical cause.

Treatment options include:

Medical treatment: this targets any physical problem behind erectile dysfunction in a man such as an injury.

Prescription drugs: involves medications such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra meant to improve sexual function in men by increasing the flow of blood to the penis.

Hormones: involves testosterone hormonal replacement therapy for men with low levels of testosterone. These hormones can be supplemented with implants on a male’s body.

Counseling: done through a trained professional in cases where erectile dysfunction is psychologically triggered.

Sexual health education: a couple is trained about sex, sexual behaviors, and responses on how to overcome anxieties during sexual contacts.

You should open up in a friendly manner with your partner about areas of great concern during sex and possible measures for improvements.

What else can you do?

Request your partner to drop some habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol which are major triggers of erectile dysfunction among other sexual problems.

Help your partner deal with emotional or psychological matters such as stress, depression, and anxiety.