Did you know that one in two men over age 50 experience erectile dysfunction (ED) at some level? In fact, most men experience some level of ED at some point in their life. Age is not the only cause for ED; however, it can be a contributing factor. ED can also be an early warning sign of illness or even stress. Continuing our focus on Men’s Health Awareness Month, the team at Rio Grande Urology answers some of the most commonly asked questions about erectile dysfunction, including how to know when it’s time to see a urologist.
What is the cause of ED?
Erectile dysfunction occurs as the result of limited blood flow to the penis or nerve damage. It can also be a reaction to emotional stress or depression, a result of an injury, or be a warning sign of a more significant illness. Heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure can lead to ED, as well as drug or alcohol use, smoking, and some medications. Talking with your doctor about your symptoms is the best way to ensure you identify the root cause before beginning treatments.
How do you know if you have ED?
ED can occur at various levels and doesn’t only happen when you are unable to get an erection. Some men may experience an erection that does not last long enough for sex, or they may get erections when they don’t want to have sex. The symptoms can vary, so it’s important to pay attention when you are experiencing signs that are different than your normal sexual drive and behavior.
When should I see a doctor about ED?
If you’ve experienced frequent symptoms, such as inability to get or maintain an erection, talk with your doctor. We know discussing ED can be difficult and very personal, but keep in mind that your urologist has your best interest at heart. They want to help you identify the cause and best course of treatment so you can get back to an active, healthy sex life. And if your ED is a sign of an illness, the sooner it’s identified and treated, the better.
Do I have to take medication for ED?
Not necessarily! Most people immediately think of Viagra (Sildenafil) and Cialis (Tadalafil) for treating ED, both available at the RGU Pharmacy. But there are many treatment options, depending on your symptoms and what might be causing the ED. In fact, lifestyle changes play an equally important part, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy food, exercising regularly, and cutting back on smoking or alcohol. Vacuum devices are another option. Surgery might be recommended for men who have not had success with other treatments or who have ED as a result of a prostatectomy for prostate cancer.
The most important thing to keep in mind: ED is very treatable, and your urologist is available to help you find a treatment that works for you. Don’t put off the call that can help you get back on track with your sex life. If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, contact an RGU urologist today.