Finding out you have an issue with your equipment can be quite scary. However, it’s important to differentiate between a one-off issue with your erection and when symptoms are more long-term, or indicative of an underlying condition. 

Recent research has suggested that erectile dysfunction can affect anywhere between 32% and 80% of men (dependent on the country and the age of the study group) with the disease being a lot more prevalent in older men. With this in mind, it is important to remember that if you’re experiencing new or worsening issues with achieving or maintaining an erection, you should seek qualified medical advice at the earliest opportunity.

So, what is erectile dysfunction? Here is what you need to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment:

What does erectile dysfunction mean?

According to the Urology Care Foundation, erectile dysfunction, more commonly known as impotence, is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. As with all things under the covers, things not working as anticipated can be cause for concern however, it’s important to note that having the occasional issue achieving an erection is quite common.

If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, you may find it difficult to maintain an erection or you may find that, despite being aroused, you are not able to achieve an erection at all. Regardless of the severity of the issue, finding your sex life has been derailed by a change in performance can be extremely distressing, which in turn may exacerbate the symptoms.

man staring

What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

The symptoms of erectile dysfunction largely concern your ability to get an erection however, there are some psychological symptoms you may be experiencing because of the change in the functionality of your penis. The most common symptoms of erectile dysfunction are as follows:

  • Difficulty maintaining an erection
  • Difficulty achieving an erection
  • Worsening sex drive
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Low self esteem

The severity of the physical symptoms of erectile dysfunction can vary depending on the cause of the erectile dysfunction. You may find you can maintain an erection for brief periods, you may find that you have issues achieving a full erection or you may not be able to achieve an erection at all.

How do you get erectile dysfunction?

The causes of erectile dysfunction can be both physical and/or psychological. As an erection is achieved when blood flows into the penile tissue, any condition affecting the circulatory system could be responsible for erectile dysfunction. Causes could include the following:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Intoxication
  • Certain medications

Although most physical causes of the erectile dysfunction are not directly attributed to the penis, there are some causes that may originate within the penile tissue itself. One such example is Peyronie’s disease, which is the formation of scar tissue in or around the shaft of the penis, usually caused by trauma of some kind. This scar tissue reduces blood flow to the periphery of the penis, causing erectile issues.

man staring outward

How to treat erectile dysfunction

If you suspect you may have erectile dysfunction, or you are experiencing new or worsening erectile dysfunction symptoms then it’s important to seek the advice of a medical professional. Once you have been review by a clinician, they may be able to establish the cause of the change in your ability to achieve an erection.

Because the causes of erectile dysfunction are so numerous, the treatment offered could vary greatly. If, for example, your erectile dysfunction is a result of a prescription medication, it may be the case that you are provided with a different medication.

You may be told you are having problems with maintaining or achieving an erection because of cardiovascular issues. If this is the case, your GP may advise on a number of treatments to improve your health and therefore alleviate your erectile dysfunction.

It may be the case that your erectile dysfunction has a psychological cause, in which case you may be referred for psychological treatment to improve symptomology.

Cock rings and erectile dysfunction

For those experiencing difficulty maintaining an erection, the use of an erectile dysfunction ring (also known as cock rings) may be of help. Cock rings are sometimes used as they allow the wearer to improve the retention of blood in the penile tissue which can, in turn, help improve the fullness and duration of an erection.

Sadly, there is little research to suggest that cock rings can treat or improve erectile dysfunction, for this reason, they are often sold as a sex toy designed to improve sex where no erectile issues are present.

 

Want to read more about all things sex? For more articles on sexual health, head over to our Explore Sex blog where we discuss everything from STIs to the fear of sex itself.

 

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