Impotence It’s reversible
Nearly 50% of all men have a problem obtaining and maintaining an erection adequate for vaginal penetration. Having an occasional problem getting or keeping an erection is normal. But when it happens most of time and it’s severe that you cannot achieve an erection adequate for penetration, it’s time to consult with your physician
But erection issues aren’t only a problem in the bedroom, there is now strong evidence they are “a dangling stress test” – a warning sign you may high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or damaged arteries that may increase your risk of heart attacks.
When I went to medical school in the late 1960’s most erection problems were thought to be psychological and 20 per cent physical. We now know it’s probably the other way around and that 80% are due to physical causes and less than 20% are due to psychological causes. There are some clearly psychological causes of sexual problems but they’re the minority overall. There are often some pretty clear clues as to whether the problem is psychological; probably the one that clearly suggests that the problem is psychologic is that the man gets an erection upon awakening in the morning. Men with psychological impotence are able to get an erection with self-stimulation or masturbation. And finally, men with psychological erections will state that they can get an erection with another woman but not with their wife or regular partner.
Usually if it’s a physical issue, it will affect erections occurring at all times – whether they’re spontaneous, masturbatory or provoked erections. In men with severe erection problems, it’s nearly always physical.
Many men get a lot of comfort from knowing this is a medical problem. I think it helps men to know ED is just another symptom, like trouble with urination or something else that’s indicative there may be some physical disease going on and it needs to be assessed, rather than something wrong with their masculinity. It is important to mention that a physical cause can lead to secondary psychological problems too.
At any age there can be a specific cause, it might be drug or alcohol abuse, it might be prostate cancer, it could be a drug for treating high blood pressure or it could be low testosterone, the male hormone produced in the testicles that is responsible primarily for the sex drive or libido.
But as men move through their 40s, 50s, 60s, there’s also an increase in the prevalence of ED and in a big portion of this group it’s frequently a vascular [blood vessel] problem.
It’s not so much that there’s necessarily heart disease at that point, but the factors that lead to heart disease are now starting to show up in the penis. The blood supply to the heart is through blood vessels that 6-8mm in diameter. The blood vessels that supply the penis are only 3-4 mm in diameter. Therefore if the man has a condition that narrows the blood vessels such as atherosclerosis, the penis will be affected before the heart. That is why erectile dysfunction will often occur years before a man has a heart attack. In a sense, the penis is a barometer because to get an erection and maintain it, you need to increase the blood flow by about 10 or even 15 times. There’s no other organ in the body like that. So if you’ve got minor things affecting the vascular system, it will show up in the penis.
There’s strong evidence if you develop ED in your 30s, 40s and 50s, you’re at greater risk of having a heart event over next five years. Even minor erectile problems could be an indicator of future heart risks. I wouldn’t say if you’ve got ED you should be sitting there thinking, “oh I’ve got heart disease “, although that could be the case.
If you are experiencing ED, begin by consulting with your doctor. Your doctor will test you for diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. There are a lot of lifestyle issues, which when dealt with there and then might have a big effect of reducing the risk of heart disease [or its progression] and possibly restore erectile function. Early intervention will potentially lead to better sexual function because you get a better responsiveness to drugs such Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis which can improve erections].
Use it or lose it. Once the penis has been inactive for a length of time, it gets changes in its structure. These make the tissues less malleable so it’s harder to maintain an erection. You don’t have to be having sex, just having an erection to prevent these changes in the tissues of the penis. Any erection has a value in that it’s oxygenating and stretching out the penis and [this] allows it to work at its best.
Bottom Line: Don’t be in denial, not a river in Egypt, if you are experiencing ED. There is likely an underlying problem that needs your attention. See your doctor, identify the problem, and get treatment. Your penis and your partner will thank you!