Signs of Impotence
Having a healthy sex life is important to the majority of adults—both men and women. Sex can be one of the most organic, beautiful, and satisfying experiences you can have. But when bodily dysfunctions get in the way of enjoying a healthy and satisfying sex life, many people don’t know where to turn.
For men, a healthy sex life is often tied to their ability to have and maintain an erection. Some men feel that their sexuality is connected to their ability to have a firm erection. As men get older, they may have more difficulty getting and sustaining an erection adequate for intercourse or they may be concerned because their erections aren’t as full and firm as they used to be. An erection involves multiple bodily processes working together, including the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and healthy hormone function. When one or more of these systems aren’t functioning as well as they should, erectile dysfunction can become an issue.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
The inability to have or sustain an erection is called erectile dysfunction, or ED for short. Erectile dysfunction can stem from a variety of causes, and is often a sign that there’s a larger health issue going on in the body. If you or your partner are struggling with erectile dysfunction, two important things to remember are that first, many men struggle with ED over the course of their lifetime, and second, it is almost always treatable.
Causes of erectile dysfunction can vary. Any condition that affects libido such as anxiety or depression can cause ED, as can conditions that affect blood flow to the penis, including atherosclerosis, which is usually associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or smoking. Hormonal imbalance or deficiency can result in ED as well. The most common hormone deficiency that causes ED is low testosterone, although imbalances in a number of other hormones can contribute as well. Neurological conditions that prevent the brain from communicating effectively with the penis, such as strokes or trauma to the cerebrospinal system, are also potential causes. Finally, many different medications or drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, and hypertension or diabetes drugs, can be an underlying cause of erectile dysfunction.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction
Many men opt for prescription medications to treat ED, such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis. This class of medications, known as PDE5 inhibitors, may produce a stronger erection, but they don’t necessarily address all of the underlying issues that may be associated with ED. And depending on the cause, these medications may not work at all. Others go for “male enhancement” supplements, which can be purchased at many pharmacies and convenience stores. But using such supplements without physician supervision is risky, as some supplements may interfere with certain medications, and the vast majority of supplements are unregulated by the FDA and may contain additives not mentioned on the label that may increase risk of adverse effects.
With a physician’s supervision, however, certain supplements can help mitigate or even cure ED. Following a healthy living plan, including staying active, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and eating a diet rich in whole, non-processed foods may enhance your treatment as well. And since low testosterone levels have long been a culprit in erectile dysfunction, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may be a good option for those with erectile dysfunction.
Besides erectile dysfunction, low testosterone in men can come with a multitude of unpleasant symptoms such as low libido, low energy, and decreased stamina. If your inability to have an erection is caused by a hormone deficiency or imbalance, hormone replacement therapy may also improve other aspects of your health—as can any treatment that focuses on the root cause of the dysfunction. A physician who specializes in hormone replacement therapy can monitor your hormone levels and create a customized treatment plan based upon your individual needs. Regardless of the cause of your erectile dysfunction, there are treatments available. Contact the expert physicians at BodyLogicMD and get help figuring out the best treatment plan to restore your sexual health.