Erectile Dysfunction is a common problem that one encounters while growing old. And most of the times,
people suppress the problem and do not look for the help because of the taboo associated with the illness. As a result, a certain amount of dissatisfaction creeps into life, creating a poor quality of life. Let’s look at the common queries that people have regarding it and find what we can do about it.
What is Erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is the inability to attain or to maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Even with increasing age, it is everybody’s right to remain healthy and remain sexually active. However, as age passes by, ED becomes more common and can lead to embarrassing and frustrating situation. So, we endeavor to impart education regarding problem of ED to our readers in this edition.
Why does Erectile Dysfunction occur?
There are various reasons for erectile dysfunction. The most common reason being psychosexual disorder, which include lack of desire, stress, decrease interest in partner and, most commonly, performance anxiety. Other common etiology includes increasing age, as prevalence of ED is 10% in male with age less than 40, which increase to almost 50% in age group of 40 to 70 yrs.
Pathologically, diabetes is one of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction, which increase with duration of diabetes, poor control of diabetes and with onset of complication of diabetes. Other common contributing disorders can be obesity, hypertension, peripheral arterial disease, neurological diseases, trauma to spine, hormonal disorder including thyroid disorders and pituitary disorder. Smoking, excessive alcohol use and other substance abuse can also lead to erectile dysfunction.
And most importantly, a lot of commonly used medications can cause ED per se.
How would I know that I have ED?
Usually patient of ED come with symptom of not able to sustain erection for appropriate time or in severe cases not able to initiate erection despite having desire or sometime with complain to not able to satisfy one’s partner.
Is it a serious disorder?
Yes. From patient and his partner’s perspective, it can be quite frustrating.
Medically, ED can be considered as one of the indirect indicator of cardiac disease and it has been seen in research that person with ED have more chances of developing cardiac disease in next 5 year as compared to person who does not have ED. Secondly, ED per se can also lead to various psychological disorders.
What should I do if I have Erectile Dysfunction?
A person with ED should consult an endocrinologist who will examine and try to find out reson for ED and will initiate investigations based on suspicious etiology.
What test need to be done and are they necessary?
Yes, of-course. Taking medication without proper investigations can actually be harmful. Drugs used for erectile dysfunction may actually worsen underlying heart disease. Systematic investigations would include ruling out diabetes. If required, various hormone tests are done based on symptoms and examination findings. Some time USG Doppler of local area is also needed.
Is there treatment option available?
Yes. Now a days there are various treatment options available. Most of the people would respond to oral drugs. But treatment of each patient would depend on result of investigations. Spurious and un-prescribed use of these drugs is strongly discouraged. In minority of patients not responding to oral medications, injectables may be required. Other treatment options in form of vacuum device and implant can be used however these are rarely needed.
Can these medicines harm me?
All medications have their side effects however if used judiciously in appropriately selected patients, these medicines are usually safe. Patients who are with heart disease should be careful while taking these drugs. All patients should inform their doctor if they are taking any other medicine as these can react with some of the medicines.