Erectile dysfunction is quite common amongst men, primarily middle-aged to older men. But this condition can also affect younger men, especially if they have underlying conditions. Luckily, erectile dysfunction is one of those medical conditions that are easier to diagnose.
Many doctors can quickly diagnose this condition just by taking the medical history of the patient. Most patients can explain their situation to the doctor, and answer a few follow up questions to describe the scope of the condition.
In some cases, the healthcare provider may suspect that there is an underlying condition causing the dysfunction. In such cases, the doctor may order some tests to establish the root of the problem.
A sample of the patients’ blood is sent to a laboratory to be analyzed and check if there are signs the patient has diabetes or heart complications. They may also examine the levels of testosterone as well as other health conditions. Other common tests include:
- Physical exams – the doctor may physically examine the penis and the testicles and check for nerve sensations.
- Testing the urine – also known as urinalysis, they check for signs of any underlying medical issue.
- They may conduct an ultrasound – this kind of test involves checking the blood vessels to see if they can establish any blood flow issues.
- A psychological test or evaluation may be conducted – this is done to check for signs of poor mental health. Conditions such as depression can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Treatment of this condition may take various directions depending on the root cause of the problem. If there is an underlying condition, the doctor will want to treat that first. The most popular forms of treatments include:
Oral medications have been successfully used to treat erectile dysfunction for many years now. Some of the most popular oral treatment for these conditions include Avanafil, Tadalafil, Sildenafil, and Vardenafil. These medications work by improving how the body uses nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a chemical that the body produces naturally, which relaxes muscles in the penis, and this helps to improve the flow of blood. When sexual stimulation occurs, the increased flow of blood allows the person to get an erection. Other forms of medication involve injections and testosterone replacement, amongst others.
If medicine fails to rectify the condition, doctors may recommend treatment methods such as a vacuum erection device or, as it is popularly known, a penis pump. This device has a tube that is placed over the penis. The machine then sucks air out of the tube, thus creating a vacuum that pulls blood into the penis.
Once an erection is attained, a tension ring is slipped onto the base of the penis. This ring is used to hold the blood in and maintain the erection. The erection usually lasts long enough for a couple to enjoy intercourse. However, ejaculation may not be possible if the penis is overly constrained at the base.
Surgery and implants
This involves placing rods into the side of the penis through surgery. There are two main types of implants; malleable rods allow the penis to be firm but still bendable. On the other hand, inflatable rods enable patients to control when and for how long they need an erection.
Lifestyle and dietary changes
Certain lifestyle changes such as exercise can help to restore sexual function. Moderate to vigorous aerobics (as well as pelvic floor exercises) have been documented to improve erectile dysfunction. Doctors also recommend that regular exercise can help to mitigate the risk of erectile dysfunction.
In cases where it is established that the dysfunction is a result of conditions such as depression, stress, or anxiety, physiological counseling may be recommended. In such cases, it is recommended that the couple attend the sessions together.