Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to attain or sustain an erection for satisfactory sexual activity. It is important to note here that this health complication is different from other sexual conditions like lack of sexual desire (decreased libido) and problems with ejaculation and orgasm (ejaculatory dysfunction).
While some men have an inconsistent ability to achieve an erection, some have a total inability to achieve an erection, and some can sustain only brief erections. This health complication can happen at any age though it is uncommon among young men and is usually experienced by the elderly.
The common risk factors for erectile dysfunction are advanced age, high cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking, depression, other psychiatric diseases, and recreational drug use. This complication can be caused by low testosterone levels and men with hypogonadism (diminished function of the testes resulting in low testosterone production) may experience low sexual desire and erectile dysfunction. You can find more causes of erectile dysfunction by making a search online.
Some medicines can lead to erectile dysfunction and these include propranolol (Inderal) or other beta-blockers, hydrochlorothiazide, digoxin (Lanoxin), amitriptyline (Elavil), famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), metoclopramide (Reglan), indomethacin (Indocin), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Isoptin), phenytoin (Dilantin), and gemfibrozil (Lopid).
Erectile dysfunction can be diagnosed by evaluating complete blood counts, lipid profile, urinalysis, serum creatinine, blood glucose levels, levels of total testosterone and other hormones, PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood levels, and tests for hemochromatosis, lupus, scleroderma, zinc deficiency, sickle cell anemia, cancers (leukemia, colon cancer).
A doctor may recommend ED drugs like sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) or tadalafil (Cialis) and ask a man suffering with this complication to make life style improvements (for example, quitting smoking and exercising more). The doctor may inject medications into the corpora cavernosae (intracavernosal injections) or perform penile prostheses.