Erectile dysfunction, also called impotence, affects men over the age of 40. There are 80% physical causes and only 20% psychological causes. The good news is that there are efficient treatments that can fix this problem.
Each man is, at a certain time in his life, unable to initiate and maintain a good erection until “the end”. Medicine calls this phenomenon “erectile dysfunction“. This accidental phenomenon (associated, in particular with fatigue, stress, alcohol) is listed as a transitory sexual dysfunction that has not huge impact on his life or his relationship.
But the chronic sexual dysfunction has a grater impact on the man’s self-esteem, on the couple’s happiness and even on his health! Chronic erectile dysfunction affects 5% of men in their 40’s or 50’s and 15-25% of men at the ages of 60-65.
How Does An Erection Work?
The mischief maker is the thought. Sexual excitation (tactile, additive, visual or just mental) provokes a series of neurovascular mechanism that will make the arteries of penis dilate and receive more blood than usual. The brain sends the information to the penis through the parasympathetic component of the autonomic nervous system, the nervous network system that we cannot control voluntarily, but which ensures from the shadow the proper work of the majority of organs and systems from the body. When the ejaculation come or when the erection stops, the blood does no longer invade the penis, the veins begin to drain more and the strength of the penis disappears.
A Short Lesson of Anatomy
The penis is mainly formed from slightly modified blood vessels. The penis has three parts: two cavernous bodies and a spongious body, plus a multitude of nervous fibers and blood vessels. The cavernous bodies are supplied by two arteries of penis that, during excitation, will bring a huge amount of blood, dilating and hardening the penis. The spongious body has, inside, the urethra through which urine or sperm (during ejaculation) are eliminated.
In order to allow the blood to return to the brain as easily as it came down, the vessels, which normally drain the blood, are surrounded by a fibrous coat (all around the penis) that will act as a corset during the erection. The penis ends with the Glans penis in the dilated zone which is protected by the prepuce (for uncircumcised men). Here is also the open orifice of the urethra. Glans penis is one of the most sensitive areas of the body; the density of the nervous fibers that innervate this area may be compared with that of the lips.
Even if, at the beginning, men try to blame it on fatigue, stress, the “evil eye of their mother-in-law”, the causes are mostly organic (70-80 %). Psychological blocks do not have to be neglected either, because they are the most difficult to recognize and treat!
1. Cardiovascular diseases. Atherosclerosis is the main cause of erectile dysfunction at men who are over 60 (50-60 %). It consists of the deposit of atheromatous plaques inside the blood vessels in the whole body, affecting thus the heart, the brain, the kidneys, the eyes, and the sexual potency and so on. Smoking is the main risk of having atherosclerosis and sexual dysfunctions.
2. Psychological causes need more time to be successfully treated, even if they are seldom nowadays. The anxiety of having a sexual failure, stress, depression, and culpability, social and conjugal tensions are some of the possible causes of impotence. If they are not recognized and treated in due time, they will transform a transitory sexual dysfunction into a chronic one!
3. Endocrine diseases are not so frequent, but they are 5% responsible for sexual dysfunctions. If the level of testosterone is too low, the desire of having sex (the libido) decreases and the erection does not take place. A tumor of the pituitary land may produce a lot of prolactin hormone and this will lead to a decrease of testosterone level and a decrease of sexual potency. The thyroid and its synthesized hormones control the “boilers” (the rate of metabolism) and the synthesis of sexual hormones.
4. Neurological diseases: cerebrovascular accidents, lesions of the spine may interrupt the neurovascular circuits between the brain and the penis. Also, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson and Alzheimer diseases may cause erectile dysfunctions too.
5. Surgeries. Traumatisms and surgeries in the pelvian area can easily hurt the small vascular nervous structures which are essential in the maintaining of the erection. Surgeries made in the treatment of colon cancer, prostate, rectum and urinary bladder cancer may cause later erectile dysfunctions. Radiotherapy that follows these oncological interventions causes erectile dysfunctions too.
6. Insular diabetes is characterized by a great dose of sugar in the blood, which affects several organs. The first to suffer are the small vessels, atheromatosis being accelerated. Nervous fibers, the afferent fibers in particular, are also affected. The patient no longer feel his extremities (hands and feet) the lack of sensations affecting other areas too. Two in three persons with diabetes suffer from erectile dysfunctions.
The problem should be treated from the start as a problem of the couple. The partners should defeat their timidity and approach the issue openly. Otherwise, the small snow ball will become a huge snow man that will freeze not only your sexual life, but your relationship too.
Find a good doctor (a specialist in sexology) to guide you through several investigations before putting a diagnosis. An erectile dysfunction is always investigated as an organic, physical dysfunction. Only after he excluded all physical causes, the doctor will send you to counseling.
Tests to Make the Diagnose
|Penis Echography||Evaluate the permeability of penis vessels (arteries, veins).|
|The check of the nervous structures of the penis||Evaluate the maintenance of the penis’s sensitivity.|
|The check of the erections during the night||The persistence of night erections (usually there are five or six erections per night, of 30 minutes each) means that there is a psychological cause.|
|Vaso-active injections||There are different substances that once injected in the cavernous bodies start the erection which is then analysed in echographies, radiographies etc.|
The doctor will present you the therapeutic methods for defeating impotence: pills (Viagra), injections of the cavernous bodies with different vasodilator substances, the use of vacuum mechanisms, surgical implants in the penis.
Counseling is a very useful and efficient method to treat impotence. Yet, all these efforts must be accompanied by a new healthier life style. No treatment strategy is 100 % efficient and besides, there are also some nasty side-effects. That is why I strongly recommend you not to take by yourself “wonder” pills and lotions. You should see a doctor because he knows best what suits your body and what the causes are.
Simple Yet Efficient Methods
* Make more physical exercises: let no day pass without going for a longer walk;
* Give up fat foods, fast-food, and replace them with fruits, fresh vegetables, salads and light meat;
* Do not smoke!
* Drink less alcohol! Replace the beer with only one glass of red wine at lunch!
* Try to get some sleep. Avoid stressful situations as stress can cause erectile dysfunctions among other diseases.
The Advantages of These Simple Methods
* You burn calories, you lose weight, you look better;
* The level of “bed lipids” in the blood decreases and you fight against atherosclerosis, the synthesis of the testosterone is higher and you are in a better mood for love;
* You will live longer and you will be healthier: better vessels, better heart, and better lungs!
* The flavones from the red wine make you healthier and more passionate, just like Latin men;
* With “fully loaded batteries” you will “feel like playing more”!