Erectile Dysfunction: What Is It and What Can I Do About It? [An Overview]

Erectile Dysfunction is not a topic talked about in regular conversation. It isn’t featured much in TV shows or movies except as perhaps a joke, which can make those experiencing it feel even more like they need to hide what is going on. The truth is, though, that in the United States, ED affects around 30 million men, which is certainly not a small number. So what is erectile dysfunction, really?

A Condition, Not a Disease

Erectile dysfunction is not actually its own disease; it is a condition, a symptom of a bigger-picture malfunction that is happening within the body. Just like most symptoms people experience, erectile dysfunction can occur due to a variety of diseases or other conditions. That’s why no two patients experiencing erectile dysfunction are the same. Each patient needs a full medical history taken and requires individualized treatment in order to address the underlying cause of their ED.

It Looks Different in Different People

Not all people experience erectile dysfunction the same way. To be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, you may:

  • get erections sometimes, but not every time you would like to
  • be unable to maintain erections long enough to have satisfactory sexual activity
  • never get erections  

Erectile dysfunction is also thought of as affecting older men, but the truth is that younger men can experience it, too. There are several risk factors involved aside from age, and they include health conditions such as diabetes, vascular health, heart health, and depression and anxiety. In fact, at any age, if you experience ED, you need to dig further into the state of your overall health. Even in older men, ED is not just an “I’m getting old” kind of thing. There is something going on–either physically or emotionally–that is causing your ED.

A Warning Sign

Often, erectile dysfunction may be a signal that something else in the body is amiss. Remember that ED is a condition, not a disease on its own. That usually means that something else is triggering the ED. Since blood flow is crucial in the development of an erection, the inability to achieve or maintain an erection is likely connected to a disturbance in blood flow. That’s why doctors may refer ED patients to a cardiologist to make sure nothing is going on with their heart or vascular system.

ED can also be a symptom of diabetes. When a person has diabetes, their blood sugar is out of normal range which can affect the health of that person’s blood vessels, leading to a possible reduction of blood flow needed to achieve an erection. ED can be a sign that your diabetes is not controlled or it can be a side effect of your medication. A specialist will be able to help you navigate your erectile dysfunction related to diabetes.

Who Treats ED?

You may wonder who to turn to if you are suffering from ED. The best place to start is your primary care physician. Some primary care physicians are able to treat ED, but many will refer you to a urologist. Urologists specialize in that area of the body and will be able to further investigate your penile health and come up with a treatment plan. Urologists are also much more likely to be up on the current literature regarding erectile dysfunction and be familiar with newer treatment methods.

There are also clinics devoted to ED, such as Apex Health Center. Doctors at those clinics specialize in erectile dysfunction specifically. They have the most up-to-date treatments and techniques to help you feel better so you can fully enjoy your relationship with your loved one. Many of those newer treatments are innovative and more effective than the typical oral ED medications, and they are generally non-invasive, making them a good choice for those hoping to avoid surgery.

Whatever your experience with ED, you want to make sure you seek out an appropriate professional who can help you with your specific case. There’s no need to suffer alone and in shame. There are many doctors out there with the tools to help you feel better and continue to live life to the fullest.

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