Erectile Dysfunction (ED) can be an uncomfortable subject surrounded by myths. From its potential causes to the best treatment options, there is a lot of false information out there about ED. The rumors associated with the condition only contribute to the public’s negative misconception of ED. For those struggling with some sort of erectile dysfunction, these fabrications can get in the way of treatment. So, what is a myth and what is the truth when it comes to ED? Make sure you know the difference.
Myth: Only older men can have low testosterone.
Fact: Low testosterone can happen at any age for a variety of reasons. As a man ages, he may naturally start to produce less testosterone than when he was a teenager. However, this natural progression does not result in low testosterone. Low testosterone may cause ED, but it is typically a symptom of a larger problem that needs to be addressed by a urologist.
Myth: Low testosterone only affects a man’s sex drive.
Fact: A loss of sex drive can be one of the first signs of low testosterone. However, low testosterone can also cause mood swings, low energy, lack of motivation, and fatigue.
Myth: Erectile dysfunction is something older men just have to “deal with.”
Fact: ED is not something seniors have to accept as a part of their daily lives. Of course, they may need more stimulation than when they were younger, but plenty of men over 60 have active, healthy sex lives.
Myth: ED can only be caused by a physical condition.
Fact: Erectile dysfunction can be caused by physical, medical issues, but it can also be caused by psychological conditions. In fact, most cases of ED are the result of some underlying mental stress or disorder. If a man is under extensive pressure or is suffering from depression or anxiety, it can lead to sexual dysfunction.
Myth: Erectile dysfunction doesn’t affect younger men.
Fact: ED is most common in men between the ages of 40-70. However, it can affect men of any age. Younger men most often experience ED due to anxiety, depression and medication.
Myth: There is nothing dangerous about ED.
Fact: ED is not dangerous on its own. However, it can be a symptom of a more severe medical condition, such as diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease.
Myth: If you can’t get an erection, it is because you are not attracted to your partner.
Fact: Many things can cause a man difficulty getting an erection. However, if a man is suffering from ED, attraction to his partner is not a contributing factor.
Myth: ED is a permanent condition.
Fact: There are plenty of treatments for Erectile Dysfunction. With the help of a urologist, it is possible to get to the root of the issue and find a long-term treatment option that works.
Myth: Pills are the only way to treat erectile dysfunction.
Fact: While pills may work for some men, they are not for everyone. Luckily, there are many ways to treat ED that are approved by the FDA. These include herbal supplements, testosterone therapy, penile implants, and vascular reconstructive procedures.
Real Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Despite the many myths, ED can be caused by a variety of factors. Some common causes of erectile dysfunction include:
Clogged or hardened arteries, hypertension, high cholesterol, or other forms of heart disease can affect a man’s ability to get an erection. This typically occurs due to the inefficient amount of blood flow getting to the penis from the rest of the body.
If a man is suffering from a neurological condition, his brain and nerves may be unable to properly communicate with his reproductive system. This can affect his ability to acquire an erection, which puts men with chronic illnesses to the central nervous system like Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s at a high risk of ED.
Since the endocrine system regulates natural hormone production throughout the body, endocrine disorders like diabetes can often result in ED. In fact, 35-50 percent of men with diabetes struggle with erectile dysfunction. Diabetes causes the body to mis-regulate insulin levels, causing nerve damage and impaired blood flow, which can make it difficult to get an erection.
Some of the most common causes of ED can be linked back to a man’s psychological or emotional state. If a man is undergoing stress at work or in his personal life, it can make it difficult to become aroused or sustain an erection. A major life event like being laid off or losing someone close to you can be enough to cause temporary ED. Additionally, if a life change or stress results in excessive drinking or the use of tobacco, it can make both the psychological condition and the ED worse.
Some medications used to treat depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and BPH can cause certain sexual impairments. However, it is important to consult with your doctor before discontinuing your medication.
When to See Your Urologist
If you are constantly struggling with ED and are unsure why, it is important to set up an appointment with your urologist. ED can be a symptom of a more severe problem, so waiting to see your doctor could cause the condition to become worse. A visit with your urologist will help you find the source of the problem, get started on an effective treatment solution, and get you back to a healthy, active sex life.
If you have questions about your ED, don’t be afraid to ask the experienced, supportive staff at Advanced Urology. Feel free to schedule an appointment, or join us for one of our monthly men’s health seminars!