Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve and / or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual activity. This problem is widespread throughout the world. The probability of this deviation increases with age. Almost 50% of men 40-70 years old have erection problems.
Normally, an erection occurs when sexual arousal occurs in the brain or with mechanical stimulation of a member or scrotum. It is mediated through the nerve center, located in the lumbar spinal cord, the impulses of which are transmitted to the vessels and muscles of the penis.
As a result, blood flows to the penis through the arteries. The muscles of the cavernous bodies (the cavernous, spongy bodies that make up the penis) relax, the blood fills them, as a result, the penis increases and becomes solid. After filling the penis with blood, its outflow from it is blocked due to contraction of the pelvic muscles.
Erectile dysfunction appears in various forms:
- as a permanent inability to achieve an erection
- as inability to achieve an erection sufficient for penetration
- as an inability to maintain an erection long enough for successful completion of intercourse
How often erectile dysfunction occurs
Many men have erection problems. For some, these problems are not clearly expressed and do not arise often, and for some are pronounced and often arise.
Erectile Dysfunction by Age
- every tenth man between the ages of 18 and 40 is experiencing erectile dysfunction
- every second man between the ages of 40 and 70 is experiencing erectile dysfunction
These are statistics from doctors. At the same time, many drugs and medicines (dietary supplements) for the treatment of ED are bought over-the-counter or by going to a doctor – it is impossible to count these statistics.
There are two main types of erectile dysfunction:
- primary – an erection, sufficient for sexual intercourse, never occurred;
- secondary – earlier, the patient had a normal erection, but now in 25% of cases or more often the erection is insufficient for sexual intercourse.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
Smoking has a negative impact on almost all health indicators, including sexual health. Since an erection is caused by an increase in blood flow to the male member, a decrease in blood flow can lead to erection problems, reports Healthline. A 2005 study found that smoking is the main cause of erection problems in young men. Fortunately, it is reversible: in 2011, a study of erectile dysfunction among smokers showed that giving up a bad habit led to an increase in sexual efficiency in 75% of cases.
The function of the penis is more dependent on the brain, so too much stress can interfere with the man’s ability to get and hold an erection. According to Healthline, even if a man really wants to have sex, severe stress will make it impossible. This also should be attributed, and all sorts of emotional disorders. Lack of attachment to a partner or suspicion of adultery can make an erection more difficult, reports The Huffington Post. But frank conversation about relationships can solve a problem.
According to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 61% of men with severe depression have sexual problems. Experts note that depression has a biochemical component, namely, chemicals help brain cells to communicate, including in order to stimulate blood flow to the penis. In turn, the inability to engage and enjoy sex can exacerbate the symptoms of depression – but the vicious circle does not end there. The fact is that antidepressants (namely, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) directly affect libido, reducing sexual desire and sexual activity.
Nervous system lesions
In this case, erectile dysfunction is possible against the background of various diseases of the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral nerve damage is also one of the causes of impaired potency. For example, this can occur during injuries or surgery when the nerve endings that serve an erection are affected.
This pathology is associated with a violation of the anatomical structure of the penis. For example, in case of a pronounced curvature of the penis in a man, impotence is possible. Erectile dysfunction is also noted in the fibrosis of the cavernous bodies, which is most often associated with injuries and surgical interventions.
The expansion of the vessels of the penis occurs due to a specific enzyme that is responsible for the synthesis of nitric oxide. This enzyme is dependent on the male sex hormones. The less testosterone, the less activity of this enzyme, which, accordingly, leads to deterioration of erection. In addition, the low content of testosterone leads to increased fat deposition, including in the cavernous bodies, as well as dystrophy of smooth muscle cells, which ultimately leads to a violation of veno-occlusion mechanism. The libido also depends on the level of testosterone in a man’s blood, which also undoubtedly affects the quality of erection.
Studies have confirmed that condoms may prevent some men from holding an erection. In particular, SexualHealth.com cites data from a 2006 study, which showed that over a three-month period, approximately 37% of participants in the experiment experienced an episode of erectile dysfunction in the process of putting on a condom or during sex with a condom. However, unprotected sex is not the best way to solve a problem. Using the right size condom or finding the right brand will prove to be a more correct behavior tactic.
Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction
With complaints of violations of potency should contact a urologist or andrologist. The doctor asks the patient in detail about sexuality both in the present and in the past, and is interested in the nature of the relationship with the partner. It is important how the first signs of impotence appeared, how often and under what circumstances it appears.
For the indirect determination of hormonal disorders, the genitals, skeleton structure, body hair growth, and muscle condition are examined. Of particular importance is the assessment of the state of the cardiovascular system.