The symptoms of erectile dysfunction, a common sexual disorder, is broadly one main one – the inability to achieve or maintain an erection hard or sufficient enough for sexual intercourse. However, erectile dysfunction not only has many causes that can lead to it, but can also have consequences if not diagnosed or left untreated.
Due to the fact that sexual dysfunction can impact both physical and mental health – the symptoms of ED could also be factors that affect them. Medical history, sexual history taking, diagnostic testing (such as blood tests and lipid profiles) allows for medical professionals to assess a patients health holistically before determining the exact cause(s) of their ED symptoms.
In short, any medical condition or situation that affects the blood vessels or blood flow or blood circulation in the penile arteries, and mental health concerns can all lead to symptoms of ED. In fact, underlying conditions or chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure can all affect sexual functioning and sex life.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
A quick run through on the causes of ED or lack of a normal erection:
- Medication conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions, kidney disease
- Surgeries such as vascular surgery or prostate surgery
- Psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety
- Hormone levels fluctuation such as low testosterone levels
- Physical injury to the pelvic area or any pelvic nerve damage or nerve function
- Sexual addictions such as porn and masturbation addiction
- Recreational drugs or illegal drugs addiction such as cannabis
- Lack of physical activity or exercise
- Lack of a healthy and nutritious diet
- Genetic conditions such as heart attacks
Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
The symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:
- Difficulty in getting an erection
- Difficulty in maintaining an erection
- Getting a partial erection, not firm/hard enough for vaginal penetration
- Reduced libido or sexual desire
- Performance anxiety
- Increased anxiety and stress associated with sexual intercourse
- Reduced quality of life
- Interpersonal or relationship issues
Low Sexual Desire
Low sexual desire or libido is a common symptom of erectile dysfunction. It is also often associated with interpersonal concerns within relationships, increased stress, or sexual dysfunction.
However, everyone’s sexual desire levels can vary because of the many dependent factors. There is no ballpark level for sexual desire.
Professionals approach the symptom of low sexual desire by determining the cause behind it and prescribing appropriate treatment therapy which can include medications and/or therapy depending on if the cause is physical or psychological or both.
Causes of Low Sexual Desire
- Loss or lack of sexual attraction
- Conflict and interpersonal issues with partner
- Lack of communication and trust
- Physical problems such as medical conditions or medication-related side effects
- Psychological problems such as depression or anxiety
- Medications such as anti-seizure medications, antidepressant medications
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Treating Erectile Dysfunction
A quick run through on the treatments for Erectile Dysfunction.
Treatment is relative to the determined cause behind ED symptoms, however here are the common treatments for ED:
- Medicative intervention or oral medications: PDE-5 inhibitors or SSRIs
- Psychological counselling and sex therapy
- Treating and managing chronic health conditions and mental health concerns
- Updating prescription medications that may be causing ED symptoms
- Medication condition treatments such chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Modifying lifestyle factors to lower the risk of erectile dysfunction
A physical exam is not always required for diagnosing erectile dysfunction, however, medical treatment is imperative for effective solutions for erections firm enough for sexual intercourse. ED symptoms can be an indicator of heart disease or other heart conditions, and taking prescription drugs that can cause ED symptoms is unhealthy in the long run. It’s important to have an accurate diagnosis before initiating any treatment plan with your healthcare provider.
Frequently Asked Questions
(1) Can low sexual desire be a symptom of Erectile Dysfunction?
Yes, low sexual desire can be a symptom of ED – this is because due to the psychological and physical toll ED symptoms can cause. However, the cause behind the ED symptoms – such a chronic medical conditions – can also be the cause of low sexual desire. Symptoms are evaluated are by healthcare professional so effective treatment can be prescribed.
(2) Can Erectile Dysfunction lead to hair loss?
No, there is no evidence that Erectile Dysfunction can lead to hair loss.
(3) Can Erectile Dysfunction symptoms last forever?
In most cases, the symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction are temporary, if holistically treated. Untreated ED can lead to symptoms being experienced by an individual for a long time. However, treatment can help relive Erectile Dysfunction symptoms in about 6-8 weeks.
(4) Can Erectile Dysfunction be painful?
No, ED symptoms should not be painful. If you have an erection that is painful or that your penis hurt, we encourage you to speak to a professional as soon as possible.
(5) Is erectile dysfunction a blood flow problem?
Essentially, erectile dysfunction is a symptom of anything that affect erectile health – this would include blood supply or flow health, blood vessel health, penile nerves or artery and health etc. Therefore anything that affects blood flow, such as high blood pressure, can lead to erectile dysfunction.
(6) What blood test shows erectile dysfunction?
There are not blood tests that determine erectile dysfunction, however, they are used for diagnostic testing in order to determine the cause and/or rule out any chronic medical conditions. Blood tests can help determine the physical condition of the body which would aid in treatment options or type of treatment to improve sexual function – such as levels of testosterone, or blood sugar. The risk factors associated with ED are also carefully examined.
(7) What is the biggest reason for erectile dysfunction?
There are a variety of factors that can lead to sexual dysfunction. Physical causes of erectile dysfunction are the most common – these can include heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking, drinking etc. Psychological conditions or emotional factors, such as depression, anxieties, stress, relationship problems, and other mental health concerns can also interfere with sexual feelings.
(8) How do you confirm you have erectile dysfunction?
A medical health professional will be able to diagnose erectile dysfunction only after understanding the health history of their patient. This would include taking medical and sexual history to learn about any underlying health conditions, prescribing diagnostic texts, and prescribing any imaging that may be required.