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Erectile Dysfunction

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a man has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection firm enough for sexual activity. It is quite common – about 30 million men in the United States have it. There are many potential causes, including poor blood flow, nerve damage, medication side effects, and psychological factors like stress or anxiety.

Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction

To determine the cause of ED, a doctor will start with a physical exam and questions about your medical history. They may order lab tests to check for any underlying health conditions contributing to ED. Psychological factors may also be explored through questions about stress, mood, and your relationships. Be open with your doctor so they can make an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction

There are several options for treating erectile dysfunction:

Simple changes like losing weight, eating healthier, exercising more, and quitting smoking can help with ED in some cases. Reducing stress may also help.

Oral medications like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra improve blood flow to the penis to assist with getting an erection. They are taken 30-60 minutes before sex. These pills don’t automatically cause an erection – sexual stimulation is still needed. Side effects can include headaches, indigestion, and flushing.

Injectable medications are also available. These are injected directly into the penis to trigger an erection. They have a faster onset but can also have side effects like pain and scarring.

Medical Devices

Penis pumps use suction to draw blood into the penis and create an erection. A constriction ring can help maintain the erection. Pumps are noninvasive but take some practice to use properly.

Penile implants are surgical devices implanted in the penis if other treatments don’t work. This allows you to have an erection whenever you want. Surgery carries risks, and you likely won’t get natural erections after this.


For cases of ED due to psychological factors like stress or relationship issues, counseling with a therapist may help.

Seeking Treatment

If you think you have ED, it’s important to see a doctor, like a urologist, for evaluation and treatment. They can assess symptoms, discuss options, and tailor treatment to your situation and needs. Be ready to share details about symptoms, medical history, and any medications or supplements you take. Don’t be embarrassed – your doctor is there to help.

With an understanding doctor and effective treatment, ED can be overcome in many men. Take the first step and make that appointment today.

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