Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Signs and Next Steps

Anywhere from 5-15% of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction in the United States. Erectile dysfunction, also called impotence can have many causes, some of which are common, like aging, while others can be a sign of a much more serious underlying condition. Most men are aware that this is a common problem, and have seen countless Viagra and Cialis commercials, but are unprepared when they begin to suspect erectile dysfunction is affecting them.

Unlike many other conditions, erectile dysfunction is pretty easy to diagnose. It is more of a symptom of another issue, rather than its own disease, though. Any man who frequently has a difficult time achieving and maintaining an erection at desired moments, has erectile dysfunction. An occasion instance of failing to get and stay erect is common for men of all ages and is unlikely to have any greater significance, but if it’s more than an occasional issue, it would be wise to consult a physician.

The sexual functioning of a man has many elements, so it may be difficult to ascertain which is dysfunctioning. For one’s physical health, the least troubling possibility is simply that there is performance anxiety or relationship issues that are mentally making it difficult for the man to perform. Counseling for anxiety or relationship counseling can often solve this as a cause for erectile dysfunction quite easily. Aging is another common cause, and another that is no reason for alarm. Around two-thirds of men over the age of 70 have significant erectile dysfunction, so by itself this symptom could simply be a sign of aging. It is, however, treatable for all age-groups so if it is affecting one’s standard of life, it can certainly be addressed.

Now for some more serious potential underlying causes. Those who lead less healthy lifestyles are much more likely to report erectile dysfunction as alcohol, smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise are all risk factors. These behaviors can lead to health issues like diabetes, atherosclerosis and peripheral vascular disease that have much more serious implications than the embarrassment and disappointments of erectile dysfunction. Because a healthy blood flow to the penis is a necessary condition of achieving an erection, blockages that prevent this can be a sign of a high risk for a heart attack.

There really isn’t an easy way to know the underlying causes of your erectile dysfunction though, until you visit a physician to be examined. It may be something as simple as overthinking and anxiety, or it could be much more serious. If you live in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Wake Forest, Clayton, Dunn, Clinton and the surrounding areas and are concerned about potential impotence, you should contact Associated Urologists of North Carolina at 919-758-8677.

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