Ultimate Guide to Erectile Dysfunction: Causes, Signs, and Treatment Options

Ultimate Guide to Erectile Dysfunction: Causes, Signs, and Treatment

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common, particularly as men age. It is often self-diagnosable, and most importantly, it is treatable. Here is an ultimate guide to ED: its symptoms, causes, and solutions.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

This is a problem in which a man experiences trouble gaining or maintaining an erection for and throughout the sexual act. The word "regular" is crucial here. Men occasionally have trouble getting erections, but when this becomes the norm rather than the exception or when it simply ceases to happen, that condition is called erectile dysfunction (ED).

What are the possible causes of Erectile Dysfunction?

ED can be attributed to several contributing factors ranging from psychological to physical. ED at 40 can often be a symptom of a larger underlying health problem. This means it could be a warning sign.

There are other causes for ED as well. Here are some of the common causes of ED for men in their forties: 

  • Heart disease 

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Hypertension

  • Hormonal disorders

  • Mental health conditions

  • Certain medications 

  • Drug or alcohol use

  • Smoking 

  • Sedentary lifestyle 

  • Diabetes 

  • Obesity

  • Trauma

  • Prostate cancer

Symptoms of ED

ED has very common symptoms. You only experience ED if these symptoms are persistent. Trouble from time to time can just be due to daily stress or exhaustion. These should not be confused. The symptoms include

  • Reduced sexual appetite

  • Reduced sexual activity or interest

  • Difficulty getting an erection

  • Difficulty with maintaining an erection

Treatments for ED

There are several ways to address the problem; here is a list of a few options to treat erectile dysfunction. 

  • Oral medications 

ED is a common condition, so various reliable medications are available with fewer side effects. When suffering from ED, oral medications are the first course of treatment followed; they are effective and safe. Common oral medications include active ingredients like sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil, and avanafil. These have a similar mechanism of action and work by enhancing blood circulation in the penis. The increased blood flow in the penis helps you get a firm erection. 

There are four main active ingredients that most ED medications have, namely, sildenafil (Cenforce), vardenafil (Vilitra), tadalafil (Vidalista), and avanafil (Super Avana). Although these active ingredients work similarly, they have slightly different chemical structures.  

Consult your doctor for the best option for you. Since these medications work similarly, it comes down to availability, price, how long it lasts, and dosage. Generic medications with these ingredients are also available.  

  • Nutrition 

If you face ED due to nutritional deficiencies, your doctor may prescribe supplements to overcome it. Blood circulation plays an important part in treating ED. Your diet might lack important nutrients that help in blood circulation. Paying close attention to what you eat and including foods rich in proteins, zinc, and antioxidants improves ED conditions. When you lack specific vitamins and nutrients that help blood circulation, this may result in erectile dysfunction. Good sexual health begins with a healthy diet. A healthy, well-balanced diet with adequate hydration is closely related to having a good sex life.

Foods that increase blood circulation are:

  • Onions and garlic: These foods can help your blood circulation, so make sure to add them to your diet.

  • Bananas: Apart from being rich in antioxidants, this potassium-rich fruit can help lower your blood pressure. It helps to boost the production of testosterone and improve libido.

  • Chilies and peppers: Naturally spicy foods help blood flow by reducing hypertension and inflammation.

  • Omega-3: Foods rich in omega-3, like seafood, lower your chance of harmful cholesterol, increase blood flow, protect your heart, and prevent inflammation. Salmon, oysters, and sardines are excellent choices with more than enough omega-3 fatty acids.

Other options for treating ED

  • Penis pump

It is a device that helps you attain an erection by creating a vacuum that pulls all the blood into your penis. Once you successfully get an erection, place a tension ring around your penis to hold the blood and remove the device. If this is a suitable device, your doctor recommends it and prescribes a specific model.

  • Testosterone replacement therapy  

Sometimes ED is caused due to low levels of the hormone testosterone. In this case, testosterone replacement therapy could be recommended. This can be done through intramuscular injections, testosterone patches, or testosterone gels. Pellets can also be implanted every two months. Injections are usually given every 10-14 days, while patches and gels can be applied daily. Be careful while using gels to avoid transferring them to your partner. 

  • Surgery

Surgery could be the last resort after exhausting all the other available options. When drug-based treatments have not shown any effect, a surgical option is considered. These will help the patients attain a firm erection. There are various surgical treatments available, including implants. These surgeries are usually rare.

  • Sex therapy or Counseling

Psychological reasons can also cause erectile dysfunction in some cases. When this happens, your doctor may suggest sex therapy. A sex therapist can help you get to the root of your problem and overcome it. The process involves addressing any emotional issues or trauma causing the condition coupled with medication. 

If ED is caused due to stress or anxiety, or some condition that is creating tension, your doctor might recommend you, or you and your partner start counseling.

Complications due to ED

ED can cause multiple complications, they include

  • An unsatisfactory sex life

  • Low self-esteem

  • Stress

  • Pregnancy issues

  • Relationship problems


If you routinely experience erectile dysfunction or stress around maintaining your erection, it is time to consult your doctor. To get a better understanding of your situation, your doctor will ask about your sexual history. You must express your problem by being open and honest in front of your doctor. This will help them provide you with the best solutions. Your doctor may examine your heart health or run a couple of neurological tests to understand if it’s a biological or psychological problem. Some blood tests and physical exams might also be conducted.

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