Erectile Dysfunction

What is it?

Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is a condition where men find it difficult to achieve and sustain an erection in order to have sexual intercourse. This is a common problem, particularly for older men, with around half of 40 to 70 year olds suffering from erectile dysfunction at least once in their life. This can have a great psychological affect, causing feelings of inadequacy and affecting confidence.

What causes it?

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by both physical and psychological problems. Physical causes include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, hormonal problems, alcoholism and serious illnesses such as cancer. Psychological problems include stress, depression, fear, previous negative experiences, anxiety and any underlying issues troubling your relationship.  

Can it be treated?

In most cases men who suffer erectile dysfunction a couple of times will see the problem improve of its own accord. However, if it is a recurring problem then it may be caused by an underlying health problem, which is why it is best to see your GP. If it is related to a serious illness then the necessary treatment should help. If it is discovered the problem is psychological then the help of a therapist may be needed. Viagra may also help to improve the condition, as may the following lifestyle changes:

  • Quit smoking - Smoking can hinder the blood supply to the penis, making it difficult to achieve an erect penis
  • Better your diet - Your body needs healthy food to operate properly. Sticking to the five fruit and vegetables a day, and lessening the intake of sugar and saturated fats can help
  • Exercise - Improving fitness is a good way to perk up your sex life and can help to relieve stress
  • Reduce stress - Anxiety due to work issues, money troubles and lack of sleep can affect your sexual performance, as may any underlying relationship trouble. You must learn to release stress, through methods such as exercise, and to communicate any problems with your partner
  • Reduce alcohol intake - Try and stick to the recommended three units a day if drinking. Being drunk can prohibit an erection

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