Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual health problem in men. According to statistics, it strikes about 15% of the male population every year. In 1995, more than 150 million men were found to have been afflicted by erectile dysfunction, and this number is expected to more than double by 2025.
As men age, their risk of erectile dysfunction also increases. Approximately 1 in 10 men who are between the ages of 40 and 70 years suffer from complete or severe erectile dysfunction. Even though it is not as common in younger men, it still affects about 1 in 20 men who are below the age of 40.
The signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is characterized by the following signs and symptoms:
- Difficulty achieving an erection even after some sexual stimulation
- Difficulty maintaining an erection that is firm and long-lasting for you and your sex partner’s pleasure
Have you had trouble getting an erection a couple of times before? Were you so exhausted from work or school or having family or relationship issues that time? Not being able to achieve an erection from time to time does not necessarily mean that you have erectile dysfunction. Sometimes, stress, pressure, conflicts, and other problems can negatively impact your sexual functions and result in the inability to get your penis up and hard.
However, if it happens often and is an ongoing issue, you have to go see your doctor. It is important that the problem is diagnosed at the earliest chance so that you can get treated right away.
Possible causes of erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction can be physical factors, mental health concerns, or both. The following are some examples:
High blood pressure
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a common health problem that occurs when the force of the blood that passes through your arteries gets too high. Over time, it can lead to damaged and weakened blood vessels, and cause a stroke. Because blood circulation in your body is disrupted, blood flow to your penis is also negatively impacted, making erections difficult to achieve and sustain.
If there is too much fatty deposit building up in your blood vessels, your cholesterol levels rise and blood is unable to circulate in your body efficiently. Your penis is deprived of enough blood for it to get firm and long-lasting erections for enjoyable sex.
The most serious form of alcohol abuse, alcoholism is a kind of disease in which there is a constant craving or the need to drink alcohol. It can cause several severe health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, liver issues, and stroke, and even impede your sexual and reproductive functions.
Mental health problems
Having depression, anxiety, or some other mental health issues can contribute to erectile dysfunction. You lose your libido or desire for sex and fail to perform at your best in the bedroom. To fix that, you have to see a mental health professional.
Taking certain prescription medications
Some prescription medications may contain ingredients that can reduce the quality of your erections. For example, if you have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe you diuretics or water pills to help lower your blood pressure by making your body eliminate excess water salt and water. However, these medications also cause a decrease in the blood flow to your penis, resulting in the inability to achieve an erection. It is best that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible to find alternative medications.
Risk factors that can contribute to erectile dysfunction
There are certain factors that make you more likely to develop or increase your risk of erectile dysfunction. Below are examples of these risk factors:
Being overweight or obese
If you are packing some extra pounds and fats, you have to start losing weight now to reduce your odds of having erectile dysfunction in the future.
If you have had a heart attack, have high blood pressure, or other heart diseases, the likelihood of you being struck by erectile dysfunction is much higher than someone who has a healthy heart.
If you are taking medications for your high blood pressure, depression, or other health problems, certain elements contained in them can give you trouble with your erections.
If you have gone through radiation treatment for cancer or prostate surgery, the area around your genitals might not work as well as before and leave you with erectile problems.
Poor mental health
If you have mental health problems, your libido or sex drive can decline and make getting aroused and sustaining firm erections difficult.
Ways to prevent erectile dysfunction
To keep your sex life active, fun, and pleasurable for a long time, you have to make healthy lifestyle choices. The following are tips and tricks on how you can protect yourself against erectile dysfunction:
Being physically active plays a big role in keeping your sexual health at its best. If you exercise for even just 30 minutes a day, three or four times a week, you can make significant improvements to your heart health, stamina, and endurance, and have many great moments in the bedroom.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet
Eating foods that contain essential nutrients are beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing. By eating healthy, you can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and other diseases that can prevent you from enjoying your sex life.
Quit unhealthy habits
Excessive alcohol drinking, drug abuse, and smoking are habits that can impair your sexual and reproductive functions. Thus, you have to quit them and rid your body of their harmful and toxic substances.
It is important that you go see your doctor on a regular basis for checkups and tests, especially after the age of 40. As you grow older, your risk of developing erectile dysfunction and many other diseases increases.