Impotence, commonly referred to as erectile dysfunction or ED, is defined as the consistent inability to achieve or maintain a full erection. It affects nearly 15 to 30 million American men, according to the National Institute of Health. Men of all ages are negatively affected by impotence; however, older men are more likely to experience impotence than younger men. Erectile Dysfunction is the hush, hush sexual disorder for many men: Few men openly discuss it, and even fewer men admit that they suffer from ED. As human beings, our identities are - to one degree or another - intimately connected with our sexual organs, to our bodily functions. If our sexual organs experience any form of dysfunction or unreliability or undergo surgical transformation, there is a tendency for men and women to question the effectiveness of a fella's manhood or a lady's womanhood. When men experience impotence, there is a tendency for men - not only those suffering from impotence but men in general, as well - to question personal masculinity. Nothing could be farther from the truth, but it is common for many men to associate this dysfunction with a type of emasculation.
Generally speaking, society no longer functions as an extension of the Dark Ages of superstition and misinformation. The days of shaming men, directly or indirectly, for sexual dysfunction are coming to an abrupt conclusion. Medical professionals have provided society with reasonable explanations and causes of erectile dysfunction. Men and women are educating themselves, learning about the causes and symptoms of erectile dysfunction. A greater understanding of ED has, and should continue to, bring forth a more compassionate approach to men who suffer silently. In the past, women questioned their ability to arouse men experiencing ED, as if they were responsible for their partner's inability to achieve and maintain an erection. This is obviously false. While "educating" oneself on this sexual dysfunction is helpful, knowledge provides only limited comfort, patience, and compassion. The Internet is filled with erectile dysfunction forums for men and women to discuss their experiences with this sexual dysfunction. Self-help groups also exist, providing communities with an immediate outlet for men who are living with ED to share their feelings and experiences. There are medications available that help men improve their erections; this will be discussed later in the article. At the end of this article, I will provide a list of erectile dysfunction resources that should be useful for men and women.
In order to combat the negative effects of erectile dysfunction, the causes must first be addressed. According to Supplement News.Org, "Impotence may be caused by a variety of physiological and psychological disorders. In most cases, impotence is due to physiological causes, such as injury, disease, or prescription drugs." National Institute of Health claims that physiological causes (disease) account for 70 percent of all erectile dysfunction cases, so it is paramount that men visit their physicians if they experience erection difficulties. What appears to be only a sexual dysfunction might be the symptom of life threatening diseases and illnesses. For example, there is a connection between artherosclerosis (hardening of arteries, possibly ending in a heart attack or stroke) and erectile dysfunction. Supplement News.Org lists chronic alcoholism, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, enlarged prostate, vascular disease, and neurological disease as possible causes of impotence. Since this sexual dysfunction is possibly a symptom for dangerous illnesses and conditions, simply taking medication could pose a serious risk for the individual, and with all the many medications advertised on the Internet as "erection enhancers," it is important for men to consult their physicians before taking any medication. Put simply, erectile dysfunction, while bothersome, could save a man's life: it could the final warning signal sent out by a body suffering from unseen disease and disorder.
Stress, anxiety, sexual performance pressure, fear, frustration, and other emotional disorders can, and do, cause erectile dysfunction for some men. National Institute of Health explains, "Experts believe that psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, low self-esteem, and fear of sexual failure cause 10 to 20 percent of ED cases." Again, the likelihood that erectile dysfunction is symptomatic of psychological disorder is much less than physiological conditions. It should never be assumed that impotence is always caused by emotional disorders. Furthermore, if a given man is experiencing erectile dysfunction due to psychological causes, it is important that partners approach their loved ones with compassion and understanding, especially since one of the main psychological barriers is pressure. Adding additional stress and pressure will not improve the situation. Extending a kind hand and demonstrating patience is one of the best approaches. In some cases, counselors and psychologists may be needed. The severity of the emotional disturbances will often determine what course of action should be explored.
Erectile dysfunction is treatable for most men. Since the 1990s when Viagra (also known as Sildenafil) entered the public arena in massive advertising campaigns, a host of other pill and drug "remedies" have surfaced - many promising immediate results. Cialis, Levitra, and Viagra are the most common prescriptions used to combat erectile dysfunction. Billions of dollars will be spent this year on erectile dysfunction medications. Before taking any erectile dysfunction medication, individuals should consult with medical professionals. One quick Google search of "erectile dysfunction" yields many routes toward self-diagnosis and medication purchasing potential. Erectile dysfunction medication does have negative side effects for men diagnosed with hepatic disorders, impairment of renal function, hypotension (low blood pressure), cardiovascular problems, and anyone recently experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Education of erectile dysfunction medications is one way to avoid taking potentially harmful drugs. More than ever, information regarding these medications is surfacing: the long-term effects, adverse reactions, etc, so examine all the evidence before taking any of these medications.
Penis pumps and cock rings are also used as erection enhancement tools. If used carefully and as directed, both can be extremely effective. Penis pumps, also known as vacuum constriction devices (VCD), increase blood flow to the penis, helping men with erectile dysfunction achieve fuller erections. Despite heavy advertising by sex toy companies, penis pumps do not "eradicate" erectile dysfunction; instead, penis pumps are best used for erection enhancement purposes. Some men claim that penis pumps have increased the size (length and girth) of their penis size, but no reliable studies have surfaced to suggest a correlation between penis pumps and penis growth. Penile exercise, stretching and penis pump usage increase blood flow and circulation in the penis, so applying all three strategies is another possibility. While penis pumps are designed to help men maintain erections, cock rings are designed to help men maintain an erection. Obviously, if a man is unable to achieve an erection, cock rings will not work. Since there are varying degrees of erectile dysfunction, cock rings and penis sex toys might be an option for less severe cases of ED. If achieving an erection is not an issue, but maintaining an erection is an issue, cock rings might be a better choice than medication.
Surgery - oh, the dreaded word. Erectile dysfunction can be addressed by surgical methods. Advances in technology have made surgeries more accessible to men. The National Institute of Health explains, "Surgery usually has one of three goals: to implant a device that can cause the penis to become erect, to reconstruct arteries to increase flow of blood to the penis, or to block off veins that allow blood to leak from the penile tissues." Implanted devices, inflatable devices, and malleable implants are three surgical possibilities, but before taking the painful road of surgery and unforeseen complications, it is advisable to exhaust all other treatments.
This brief discussion is not comprehensive enough to cover all erectile dysfunction issues, treatments, and complications; rather, this informative article should only be used as an introduction to erectile dysfunction. VibeReview values health over sexual performance, so if you or anyone you know is experiencing erectile dysfunction, it is best to immediately consult a medical professional. Patience, love, and compassion should always be in full swing, especially with men who feel self-conscious about their sexual performance. Whether psychologically or physiologically, men fighting erectile dysfunction should be applauded. I have prepared a helpful list of resources that are available for men and women.
Support Groups and Message Boards:
VibeReview's Erection Enhancement Toys:
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