Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects over 30 million men in the United States.
There is absolutely no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed, it is part of life, and it is treatable! At SMS we respect your privacy and will work closely with you to get back to your best sexual self.
What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?
To put it simply, erectile dysfunction is most often a lack of blood flow to the penis. We define it has the inability to achieve and maintain an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. This can happen to men of any age but is most prevalent in men over the age of 70. There are many factors that can cause ED that are physical or psychological, followed by the case of it happens with age and can’t particular be avoided.
Some interesting statistics from the International Journal of Impotence Research ED show that:
ED affects over 30 million men and their partners in the U.S.
ED impacts 52% of men over 40 years of age
ED affects 70% of men in their 70s
ED hinders 40% of men in their 40s with occasional problems
At SMS Colorado we use medications that are vasodilators to increase blood flow to the penis without an effect on any other parts of your body. A simple physical exam and in-depth chat will start us off on the right track to individually treat every person’s ED.
Lack of blood flow to the penis
The lack of blood flow to the penis continuously during sex is single handedly what causes the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. There are different physical and psychological causes that can lead to ED which we will follow up on later. Before we understand the potential causes of ED, we want to put an emphasis on commonly recognized symptoms.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction
Different people present different symptoms, but regardless, these symptoms are persistent:
Erection problems (achieving or maintaining an erection) occurring at least one in every four times of attempting sexual intercourse
An erection taking longer than usual to achieve
Losing an erection in certain positions
Morning erections becoming less common or less rigid
Ejaculating more rapidly or with an incomplete erection
When should you seek treatment for erectile dysfunction?
You should seek treatment for erectile dysfunction if you notice that any of the above symptoms are persistent and frequent when you are having sex. You can first start by seeing your family doctor or you can go to a specific erectile dysfunction clinic or doctor that you find through your health care providers. Seeking treatment should also be on the radar if you have any of the underlying health conditions:
Other known health conditions that could be linked to erectile dysfunction
You could also consider seeking treatment if you have other concerns about erections or other sexual problems.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
When you are experiencing sexual arousal there are so many complex parts of the brain and body that are working together to achieve an erection. You’ve got your brain, emotions, and hormones “talking” to the blood vessels, nerves, and muscles around the penis to make it erect. It is a fascinating process knowing so many different parts of your brain and body are working together to make your penis erect. ED can be caused from a disconnect between the brain and the body but can also be influenced from various physical and psychological causes that can impact the inability to achieve or maintain an erection.
Most Common Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Cardiovascular Disease | Vascular Disease | Clogged Blood Vessels
Cardiovascular disease or heart disease can be hereditary, or it can be caused by living a traditionally unhealthy lifestyle. Heart disease refers to multiple different types of heart conditions, but the most common in the U.S. is coronary artery disease (CAD). Most heart diseases are classified by how blood flow to the heart is affected, typically, reduced blood flow. Because heart disease commonly affects blood flow to the heart, it can be a precursor for erectile dysfunction which is the lack of blood flow to the penis.
Vascular disease is an abnormal condition of the blood vessels which are made up of arteries and veins. If you have abnormal blood vessels, this can interfere with blood flow in all parts of your body, even to your penis.
Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis) is the thick or hard buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery. Atherosclerosis is also understood as high cholesterol. Just as you can get plaque buildup in your heart, you can get it in the veins in your penis. Clogged veins are a significant and frequently reported cause of erectile dysfunction in men in the U.S.
Luckily, there are unique erectile dysfunction medical treatments that cater to those with clogged veins or other cardiovascular diseases that reduce blood flow. By taking care of your vascular health, you can possibly prevent the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction.
The unique scientific connection between diabetes and erectile dysfunction is not only that it is common to have both, but especially men who have type 2 diabetes are more susceptible to erectile dysfunction. Damages from nerves and blood vessels can be caused by inattentive long-term control of your high blood sugar or low blood sugar.
Keeping up with your blood sugar and ensuring you keep your blood sugar levels up is a great way to prevent the possibility of getting erectile dysfunction while also having diabetes.
Digestive and Kidney Diseases
ED is common in men who suffer from chronic kidney disease, especially in end-stage renal disease/failure. Kidney diseases influence men’s libido and hormones which can interfere with sexual arousal because a lot of hormones are metabolized by the kidneys. All parts of the body work together so unfortunately if you suffer from a digestive or kidney disease, you are more prone to having or getting erectile dysfunction.
Certain prescription drugs taken for these diseases can also interfere with how the medicine is metabolized or excreted through the digestive tract and kidneys. We encourage you to seek a consultation with a professional if you suffer from digestive or kidney diseases because you want to make sure you are taking safe medicine that does not interfere with other medicines or treatments.
Smoking tobacco can reduce the flow of blood to the penis because of the effects of nicotine in the bloodstream. This cause of erectile dysfunction can even happen in men as young as 20 years old! If you are a smoker, you have a 60% high risk of getting ED than men who do not smoke or consume nicotine in any form.
Fortunately, if you choose to quit smoking you can essentially reverse erectile dysfunction if the only cause of your ED is from smoking. This change can happen anywhere from 2-12 weeks after you quit smoking or consuming nicotine.
Too much alcohol or abuse of any substance is not good for a lot, this doesn’t cut out your sexual health. The metabolic makeup of alcohol can interfere with messengers in the brain that work to tell the penis to fill up with blood making it difficult to maintain or keep an erection at the time of intoxication as well as long term ED from the extensive drinking of alcohol. It has even been studied that continuous drinking can lead to a decrease in men’s libido, sexual arousal, and sexual performance. Alcohol is notoriously known to cause temporary sexual dysfunction but can show long term effects overtime.
Treatments For Prostate Cancer
Many erectile problems can rise from prostate cancer treatments. You also must consider that you could be going under radiation therapy or chemo with prostate cancer which has an endless list of risk factors. With prostate cancer you are also taking dietary supplements, prescription drugs, and blood tests frequently which can also affect your battle with cancer. Having cancer can already have a significant impact on your sex life, then to have the chance of getting erectile dysfunction because of it can be discouraging.
SMS Colorado has treatments that are safe and that can be used in line with any prostate or bladder cancer treatments.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure can be a significant cause in male sexual dysfunction and erectile function. A study done for the Journal of Urology found that 68% of men with high blood pressure experienced some form of erectile dysfunction. High blood pressure can stop arteries from carrying blood to penile veins or stop them from fully dilating the way they are intended to. Overall, not enough blood flow can get to the penis and other parts of the body due to high blood pressure.
Not only can this lead to erectile dysfunction, but also the medications taken to treat it can also be a cause.
Surgeries Or Injuries To The Pelvis Or Spinal Cord
Surgeries or injuries that have had an affect on the pelvic or spinal cord can also be a physical cause of erectile dysfunction. When you sustained major injuries or have significant surgeries you are running the risk of nerve damage, tissue damage, or blood vessel damage. This cause of ED is usually out of your control and not due to living an unhealthy lifestyle but still can unfortunately cause erectile dysfunction.
There are still ways for treating ED symptoms after you have undergone surgical treatment or sustained a major injury.
Most Common Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction are usually driven by emotional factors or brain triggers that can often be aided by simple lifestyle changes. The two most common psychological causes of erectile dysfunction are mental health conditions and stress. Being aware of the psychological causes of erectile dysfunction are just as important as having awareness around the physical effects.
Bringing awareness to the psychological causes of erectile dysfunction is important to us at SMS Colorado because we truly know how the brain and your mental health can affect your confidence in bed and your sex life.
Depression | Anxiety | Other Mental Health Conditions
Depression alone can cause a decrease in your libido, sex drive, and confidence in bed with your partner. Depression can cause brain chemicals to get out of balance decreasing one’s overall desire for sex and sex performance. Aside from the feelings, the medication that is used to treat depression can also have a negative stance on getting penile blood flow.
We commonly see that anxiety and other mental health conditions can interrupt any unfocused messages your brain is sending down to the penis. It is not uncommon for high levels of performance anxiety to contribute to ongoing signs of erectile dysfunction.
Erectile function is unpredictable with different mental health conditions, but there are steps you can take to help ease depression, performance anxiety, or other mental health conditions. Maintaining a healthy weight, healthy diet, identifying when you should be losing weight, and doing exercise regularly can be small steps to improve your sexual function and controlling of blood flows to the penis.
Our team has the best medical education to consider how other prescription drugs interact with our erectile dysfunction treatments, you can count on us to keep you safe from any interacting drugs when we’re treating ED to prevent any risk factors from happening.
Stress is a significant stressor in treating ED. There are different kinds of drug therapy and certain prescription medications that can be used to manage stress, but ironically one of the best ways to relieve stress is to have sex. Stress is something that we will cover in your health history, medical history, and sexual history when you come to our clinic for your physical examination. We know that stress impacts your sexual desires and heavily impacts other areas of your life.
Learning how to manage stress in your daily life and sex life will possibly help you prevent ED if you are not suffering from underlying health conditions or any major physical conditions.
Moving Forward With Erectile Dysfunction
There are many ways to treat ED. You can treat ED by undergoing surgery for a penile implant or penile prosthesis, using an erection chambers or penis pumps, shock wave therapy, by taking oral medications, taking over the counter drugs or medications, simple lifestyle changes, and penile injections. We recommend treating ED through oral medical treatments or penile injections. Although you can always choose to go a different route with penile implants, shock wave therapy, or penile prosthesis, that is your choice that you can make through education through your doctors.
Our erectile dysfunction treatments at SMS Colorado are 98% effective across the board with all our clients! We really know what we are doing and are here to help educate you on the treatment process. Give us a call today, we would love to help you be more confident with your penis erections and sex life.