Last week, we started a topic on sexual dysfunction in male. We discussed on erectile dysfunction and its causes. This week, we will conclude with its symptoms, effects in fertility, diagnosis, prevention and treatment.
SYMPTOMS OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Erectile dysfunction symptoms may include persistent:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Reduced sexual desire
EFFECT OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION IN FERTILITY
Infertility can be affected by inability to maintain an erection during intercourse in two ways: sex and mentality. Without the ability to remain firm, the act of penetration and childbirth will be difficult. That is the most obvious reason, but ED also causes relationship problems, which can have an impact on fertility. Failure to conceive within the timeframe that the couple has set for themselves can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and panic. These emotions can have an effect on the hormones that women produce when they ovulate, lowering their chances of becoming pregnant. The same is true for men, as stress can reduce sperm count. This is why treating ED prior to trying to conceive is critical because it will prevent future challenges.
DIAGNOSIS OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
A physical exam and medical history are often all that is required for a doctor to diagnose erectile dysfunction and recommend a treatment. However If you have chronic health problems or the doctor suspects that an underlying condition is at work, you may require additional tests or a consultation with a specialist doctor (Urologist).
Tests for underlying conditions may include:
- Physical exam: This may include a thorough examination of the penis and testicles, as well as a test of the nerves for sensation.
- Blood tests: Blood sample may be sent to a lab to be tested for signs of heart disease, diabetes, low testosterone levels, and other health issues.
- Urine tests (urinalysis): Urine tests may also be used to detect diabetes and other underlying health conditions.
- Ultrasound: This test is usually performed by a specialist. A wand-like device (transducer) is held over the blood vessels that supply the penis. It generates a video image that the doctor can use to determine if you have blood flow issues. This test is sometimes performed in conjunction with a medication injected into the penis to increase blood flow and produce an erection.
- Psychological exam: The doctor may ask questions to screen for depression or other psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.
Making healthy lifestyle choices and managing any existing health conditions are the best ways to prevent erectile dysfunction such as:
- Managing diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions.
- Visit the clinic for regular checkups and medical screening tests.
- Stop smoking, limit or avoid alcohol consumption, and avoid using illegal drugs.
- Take steps to reduce stress.
- Seek treatment for anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
The first thing the doctor will do is ensure that you are receiving appropriate treatment for any medical conditions that may be causing or worsening your erectile dysfunction.
There may be several treatment options depending on the cause and severity of your erectile dysfunction, as well as any underlying health conditions. The clinician will explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and will take your preferences into account.
- Oral medications: Erectile dysfunction drugs for men are effective. These medications enhance the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical produced by the body that relaxes penile muscles. This increases blood flow, allowing you to obtain an erection in response to sexual stimulation.
- Testosterone replacement: Some people suffer from erectile dysfunction, which may be largely caused by low testosterone levels. In this case, testosterone replacement therapy may be prescribed as a first step or given in conjunction with other treatments.
- Penis pumps: A penis pump (vacuum erection device) is a hollow tube that contains a hand or battery-powered pump. This tube is placed over the penis, and the pump is used to suck the air out of the tube. This produces a vacuum, which draws blood into the penis. When you get an erection, you wrap a tension ring around the base of the penis to keep the blood in and the erection firm. The vacuum device is then removed. Typically, the erection lasts long enough for a couple to have sex.
- Penile implants: This procedure entails surgically implanting devices on both sides of the penis. These implants are made of inflatable or malleable (bendable) rods. You can control when and how long you have an erection with the inflatable devices. The malleable rods support the penis while allowing it to bend. Penile implants are usually not recommended unless all other options have been exhausted.
- Exercise: Exercise, particularly moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, has been shown in recent studies to improve erectile dysfunction. Regular, less strenuous exercise may reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction. Increasing level of activity may also help to lower risk.
- Psychological counseling: When erectile dysfunction is caused by stress, anxiety, or depression, or if the condition is causing stress and relationship tension, the doctor may advise you or your partner to see a psychologist or counselor.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not an exciting topic for many men to discuss. Men who have performance issues during sexual intercourse are usually embarrassed, ashamed, and even depressed. However, health concerns like this should be discussed with a trusted physician because this issue affects not only the person experiencing the problem, but also their romantic partner. Erectile dysfunction affects couples’ mental health and makes it difficult for them to conceive in addition to the physical aspect of not being able to maintain an erection during intercourse is very worrisome. It is advisable you communicate openly and honestly about your condition. Treatment can be more successful when involving your partner in most cases.