Erectile Dysfunction – A Brief Overview

ED treatmentIf you’re reading this, you’re likely familiar with what erectile dysfunction is. But just in case, ED in Layman’s terms is the inability for a man’s penis to get or maintain an erection.  As uncomfortable as it is to talk about, it’s something that society shouldn’t shy away from. ED can affect all sorts of men, young or old, healthy or unhealthy, it does not discriminate. And if you feel like you’re the only one experiencing ED, known that there are many other men out there who feel the same way.

According to some studies, ED affects around 1 million men in Australia today. One survey that consulted men between the ages of 40-70 found that 50% of them experienced some form erectile dysfunction. Another study claims that almost 25% of men under the age of 40 have experienced some sort of an issue with an erection. Studies have shown that smoking, drinking alcohol, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle were all contributing factors for men having a form of ED. Diabetes, including type 1 and type 2, have also been shown to cause men to have trouble with erections.

While age and an unhealthy lifestyle can be factors contributing to erectile dysfunction, some common ones are

  • Stress
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Difficulties in a relationship
  • Psychiatric disorders

The psychological factors of ED can have a tremendous impact on a man. They can be subject to a loss of confidence, added stress in a romantic relationship and a feeling of inadequacy compared to others.  This can lead to potential mental health issues in the future if it’s not treated properly. Fortunately, there are a variety of solutions to treat ED.

There are medications on the market that are able to remedy instances of erectile dysfunction. Some of these drugs include:

  • Cialis (Tadalafil) – Approved by the FDA in 2003, the onset of this within 30 minutes and can last up to 36 hours. Side effects can include headache, nausea, vomiting and redness of the skin. In rare cases, it can cause vision and hearing loss.
  • Viagra (Sildenafil) – Originally a chest pain relief medication, Viagra was green-lit for use in the US and Europe in 1998. One of the most popular erectile dysfunction relief drugs on the market, Viagra’s onset is about 20 minutes and can last up to 2 hours. Side effects can include headache, blurred vision and flushing of the skin.
  • Stendra (Avanafil) is another drug used to treat ED. Developed at Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, it was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2012. The advantage of Stendra is that it has one of the quickest onsets for a drug of its kind. Users start to experience an erection after 15 minutes of ingesting the pill, with the effect lasting about 45 minutes.

You should always consult a doctor before thinking about taking any of these medications. It’s important to make sure you are healthy enough to use these and/or seek alternative methods if your doctor thinks they aren’t right for you.

While medical treatments and over the counter medications can offer relief for ED, there are some lifestyle changes you can make as well to help combat it! Some things you can do are:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Getting better sleep
  • Consume less junk food and more healthy foods such as fruits/vegetables
  • Talk to a relationship counselor or a psychiatrist

There is no one “cure” for Erectile Dysfunction, as there are many underlying elements that cause men to experience this. It’s important to talk to your doctor about the treatment options you can take in order to help you deal with ED. Speaking with a medical professional about this may also reveal some other health issues you may be at risk for, with ED being a side effect. Research has shown that some people with erectile dysfunction are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, so seeking treatment as soon as possible is important.

Having Erectile Dysfunction is nothing to be ashamed about. Most men experience some sort of variation of ED within their lifetime. One of the best thing to do is to spread awareness and to have a non-judgmental attitude towards this condition. That way, we can reduce the stigma towards this problem and pave the way for better understanding of it in the future!

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