What is Erectile Dysfunction?
The inability of a man to get and keep a penile erection during sexual intercourse, even when fully aroused is called ED or Erectile Dysfunction. Happening once or twice is not an issue, but often, it requires proper treatment.
Symptoms of ED
Decreasing interest in sexual intimacy, depression or stress, too-soon ejaculation before or after sexual intercourse, and inability to maintain an erection for a longer time during sex can be alarming signs of erectile dysfunction.
What Causes it?
The decline in testosterone hormonal levels with age, diabetes, regular smoking, drinking, junk foods, abusing drugs, hypertension and prostate cancer, along with anxiety, stress, depression, and relationship issues can contribute to ED.
How Common is it?
of men are not even aware of erectile dysfunction (ED)
of men experience some degree of ED in their lives
of men over the age of 40 experience erectile dysfunction
of men with ED seek certified treatment for ED
Want to find out more? We worked with our doctors to create this Ultimate Guide to ED
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Our Medical Board
Dt. Zubeda Tumbi
Dietician and Nutritionist
(Weight Management, Diabetology, Thyroid Disorders and Nutrition - Dietician and Nutritionist)
BHSc, MHSc, NET- SET, Ph.D Grants from IDRC Canada and TATA Chemicals, 29+ Years of Experience
Dr. Brahmita Monga
(Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy - Dermatologist)
MBBS, MD in Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, 10 Years of Experience
Dr. Ashitabh Tiwari
(Psychiatrist, Neuropsychiatrist and Addiction Psychiatrist - Psychiatrist)
M.B.B.S, M.D Psychiatry, 17+ Years of Experience
Dr. Sandeep Govil
(Psychiatry - Psychiatrist)
"Male sexual health encompasses various issues and challenges that are often accompanied by social stigmas, hindering individuals from seeking the assistance they need. I strongly encourage people to educate themselves about matters concerning intimacy and explore comprehensive treatment options that incorporate both medical and psychological approaches."
Dr. Sharmila Majumdar
Sexologist and Psychologist
(Sexology, Cognitive Behaviour Modifications, and Idiopathic Infertilty - Sexologist and Psychologist)
"Sexual health often receives insufficient attention in India, leading to the delayed seeking of medical assistance for intimacy and relationship concerns. It is crucial for individuals to proactively pursue treatment, as early intervention yields more effective and viable solutions."
A married man of 45 years with a BMI of 25.3 has been suffering from sexual issues. After the in-depth assessment of the self-assessment test, he got diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. With the free doctor consultation, he got suggested a personalized sexual wellness treatment plan of 6 months to help improve his erections and overall sexual desire. With regular follow-ups and lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy diet and exercising daily, he noticed positive changes in his sexual performance and now he is much more confident than before. With regular follow-ups and lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy diet and exercising daily, he noticed positive changes in his sexual performance and now he is much more confident than before.
A 38-year-old man with a 23.5 BMI has been facing issues in maintaining erections and was extremely worried about his condition for the past 1-3 months. He used to feel frustrated and unsatisfied as his sexual encounters with his partner were short-lived. But after consultation, the doctor deeply examined his situation and diagnosed erectile dysfunction. On the basis of his physical and psychological condition, he got suggested a 3-month sexual wellness treatment plan customised according to his needs. After the plan, he saw improvement in his erectile function and now he is satisfied with his overall sexual performance.
A 50-year-old married man with a 75 kg weight and a BMI of 26.7 used to feel worse in his marriage due to his inability to keep his partner happy, sexually. He had been suffering from erectile dysfunction for a year and above, and since then, he had not been able to feel normal. Because of his friend’s suggestion, he took a self-assessment test and consulted with a professional doctor. On the basis of his sedentary lifestyle habits, medical condition of diabetes and unhealthy diet, the doctor suggested him a personalized sexual wellness treatment plan of 9 months. As compared to before, he has seen an elevation in his sexual confidence and he is able to keep his partner a lot happier and satisfied. And this happened due to the right consultation, lifestyle modifications, and regular follow-up consultations.
Why do I have erectile dysfunction? I’m just 22!
Erectile dysfunction doesn’t depend on the age factor. Certain lifestyle habits like drinking, smoking, and drugs can be the reasons behind the issue. Apart from these, anxiety, stress, and lack of sleep can also affect. However, there isn’t anything to fear as you can talk to a professional doctor regarding your sexual issue and get a customized treatment just for you.
Can lifestyle changes improve sexual function?
Of course! Sexual functioning can be improved by modifying your lifestyle habits, such as including daily exercise, reducing stress, and quitting drinking and smoking.
Does erectile dysfunction cause impotence?
The inability to attain or keep an erection, or consistently ejaculate may result in impotence. Usually, impotence is known to be related to ED or erectile dysfunction, as the incapacity of a strong erection for sexual intercourse might lead to this condition.
Can erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation affect my relationship?
Yes, sexual issues lke erectile dysfuction and premature ejaculation can lead to excessive stress and strain on a relationship. It can even lower you confidence and self-esteem as you might not be able to completely satisfy your partner. Therefore, it is quite important to communicate with your partner and look for apt help, if necessary, to enhance your sexual function and make your bond stronger in a relationship.
Erectile Dysfunction: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
What is Erectile Dysfunction?Erectile Dysfunction or impotence is the inability to get or maintain a penile erection for a long period of time. It may not be the most important cause of concern but it is constantly leading to low self-confidence and distress, especially among youngsters. Almost 52% of men experience ED at least once in their lifetime. It is quite crucial to understand that ED is not permanent and most of the time it is the result of some other problem. ED can occur in any age group and is nowadays more common due to changing lifestyles and unrealistic goals in bed. Other underlying problems that can occur along with ED include premature ejaculation and problems during orgasm.
How Common is Erectile Dysfunction?Erectile dysfunction is quite common and affects at least one in 10 males in the long term. But how prevalent is it? Well, it does affect a very large population of men and the underlying causes for it include changing environment, and modern lifestyle habits like drinking, and smoking. Other factors such as stress, fatigue, low libido relationship problems and constant pressure to perform well can also contribute to ED. It is okay to not be able to perform well in bed for consecutive days, moreover, the inability to get a penile erection less than 20% times is very normal. What is not normal is a problem getting an erection for more than 50% of the time in total attempts. Mostly in such cases, erectile dysfunction treatment is needed. While ageing may act as a fuel to ED, it should not be considered the sole reason, therefore, ED is not entirely linked to ageing. A young man under the age of 40 should not consider that experiencing ED is a shame and doubt his masculinity. Older men may sometimes need extra stimulation for erection but it does not mean that he is suffering from ED.
Symptoms of Erectile DysfunctionSymptoms of ED are easy to spot and can be differentiated from one unlucky day when the male couldn’t perform well during intercourse. The most common symptom of ED is problems while getting an erection and the ability to maintain the erection throughout sexual intercourse. Some other symptoms that can be indicative of erectile dysfunction include:
- Premature Ejaculation: Release of semen even before starting, or coming before your partner would wish you to. Premature ejaculation can also happen even if you are not suffering from ED. In most cases, ED is accompanied by premature ejaculation.
- Delayed Ejaculation: While it may not seem to be a symptom of ED, extreme delayed ejaculation can still be a symptom. The person faces problems while ejaculating even after constant stimulation and sometimes does not ejaculate at all.
- Problems While Orgasm: If the male is not able to achieve climax during sexual intercourse even after enough stimulation, it can indicate erectile dysfunction.
Causes of Erectile DysfunctionMost of the men facing ED never accept the fact that they have such a problem, mostly out of fear or low self-esteem and avoid the factors causing them. Therefore, erectile dysfunction treatment becomes difficult even if the problem is not severe. Let us have a look at various causes behind erectile dysfunction which most commonly include:
- Physical Causes:
- Nerve Damage: The brain and spinal cord play an important role in physical intimacy and sexual intercourse. Once the chemistry sparks, the brain sends signals to the nerve endings around the penis in order to initiate an erection. Sometimes when the nerves are damaged due to some reason, the signalling breaks and the male faces the inability to have an erection.
- Multiple Sclerosis: Nerves that serve to be a connection between the brain and the penis are damaged due to causes like diabetes or stroke.
- Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases: Brain-related neuro-degenerative disorders can lead to ED as damaged nerves are unable to transfer signalling appropriately to the male genitalia.
- Psychology-Related Problems:
- Stress, Depression, and Anxiety: Managing work with personal life can be really painful sometimes. Emotional distress, anxiety, stress, depression and feeling lonely can trigger ED and can eventually affect male sexual performance.
- Performance Anxiety: Sometimes when the partner has not been able to perform well over a long period due to external factors leading to stress and fatigue performance anxiety may occur. Self-doubts, low self-esteem and the possibility of questioning masculinity may aggravate anxiety and eventually lead to ED.
- Penile Complications:
- Hypertension: In order to control high blood pressure doctors prescribe medications that lower the blood flow and help in stabilising blood pressure. Since erection is caused due to high blood pressure, lowering the blood pressure can be responsible for ED.
- High Lipid Count: Statins are widely used to manage cholesterol levels inside the body. Accumulation of cholesterol can directly cause low libido and ED.
- Anxiety and Stress: The medications used to manage anxiety and stress can interact with the chemical signalling of the brain and cause ED.
- Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: These are the medicines used for the erectile dysfunction treatment of pain. Their usage over a prolonged period of time can lead to a reduction in a chemical that is responsible for erection, therefore they can cause ED.
- Habit Forming Drugs: Some medications that are abused are also responsible for erectile dysfunction. Some of them include:
Myths and Facts Related to Erectile DysfunctionMyth: ED becomes very common with age and you cannot escape it Fact: ED is relatively more prevalent among old males. However, erectile dysfunction treatment is available regardless of the age factor and men do not necessarily have to compromise with sex life after an age. Myth: ED never happens to men in younger years Fact: Nowadays, young men experience more ED than they used to a decade back. It is due to changing lifestyle problems. More common are the men above 40 but young men have also sought erectile dysfunction treatment for the same. Myth: It’s in your head and ED is not such a big problem. Fact: ED itself is a health complication, moreover, it can indicate more serious problems such as diabetes and CNS-related diseases. In order to avoid serious complications in future, get your ED checked by your physician and take erectile dysfunction treatment if needed. Myth: Erectile dysfunction happens because you are no longer in love with your partner. Fact: Low libido can be because of various other reasons including work stress or fatigue. It has nothing to do with what you feel for a person. You can have a low libido even if you have strong sexual desires for a person. Moreover, alcohol and drug abuse can be a strong reason for ED. Myth: There is only one way to treat ED and that is prescription medication. Fact: Prescription drugs are only required when the case is severe and persists for a very long time. In most cases, erectile dysfunction treatment can include simple lifestyle changes and maintaining a healthy diet. Managing stress and adding exercise to your routine can also help in coping with erectile dysfunction.
Diagnosis of Erectile DysfunctionA number of causes can be the reason behind ED which may be directly or indirectly related to erectile dysfunction. Sometimes it is some external factor that is causing ED and sometimes ED is a side effect of a severe disease therefore it is very important to know the root cause of the disease. The correct diagnosis helps us to understand and manage the disease. Your physician will review your medical history before starting to examine you. The doctor will take a session with you over your overall sexual health and may ask questions that might seem intrusive. The questions will include information about the following:
- Medicines you have used previously and are currently taking. It will include all the medications or supplements you take.
- Problems you have been facing that Are leading to stress or anxiety.
- For how long has the patient been experiencing symptoms of ED?
- The count and frequency of ejaculations in a single sexual encounter.
- A number of possible erections you had in a while.
- If you are experiencing any serious problems related to your relationship.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): Low blood count can be due to a number of possible reasons. One of which could be anaemia leading to fatigue and ED.
- Lipid Profile: A high lipid profile indicates high levels of cholesterol in the body. The cholesterol deposits in the walls of the blood vessels make them less flexible and restrict the blood flow to the penis leading to ED.
- Liver Function Test: The test can give an idea about which component inside the body is abundant and is causing ED.
- Urine Test: A complete urine analysis can give an idea of overall body health. Since the by-products of bodily processes are eliminated via urine, one can get it tested for the analysis of levels of various components inside the body including cholesterol, testosterone, sugars, etc. It will give an idea if the patient is suffering from any disease such as low testosterone, cholesterol, or diabetes which may possibly lead to ED.
- Thyroid Test: Thyroid hormones regulate the production of sex hormones and therefore, a thyroid test can suggest if a low sex hormone count is causing low libido and ED.
- Blood-Hormone Test: A simple blood test can give an overview of the levels of different hormones inside the body. Increased levels of prolactin or decreased levels of testosterone can indicate low libido and can further lead to ED.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a one-stop diagnostic technique for a number of complications that gives accurate results. A collection of pictures demonstrating penile tissues can be collected using Ultrasound. A physician can easily check issues like tissue scarring, venous puncture, and hardened blood vessel walls leading to ED.
- Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT): The test is used to monitor a man’s erection activity at night. A normal person experiences erection almost 5 to 6 times while sleeping. A set of plastic bands are placed around the penis before the person is about to sleep. The bands are of varying sizes and strengths. It gives an account of erections occurring at night depending upon the number of bands that break overnight.
- Change of medicines if they are unwantedly causing ED
- Counselling to help in stress and anxiety management
- Oral prescription medications help in increasing the blood flow of the penis
- External vacuum penile pump: a device used to create suction to help in a better erection
- Prosthetic implants
- Hormone therapy to increase the levels of testosterone
- Physical activities: Increasing physical activities and indulging in exercise in daily routine can improve erection and help in erectile dysfunction treatment.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking can seriously affect sexual performance and can cause ED. Quitting smoking is the first step for erectile dysfunction self-care. Your doctor may suggest nicotine replacement chewing gums to cope with smoking cessation.
- Lose Weight: Excess weight and high cholesterol can be reduced to improve sexual life quality and for erectile dysfunction treatment.
- Stress Management: Sharing your concerns with a reliable person and taking out your concerns can help in managing stress and eventually improve erection.
- Working Out with Your Partner: It is best to share concerns with your partner and make her understand your problems. Even if you are facing performance anxiety, your partner can help by comforting you which is probably the best natural cure for ED.
- Medication: Your doctor may prescribe you some medications that help in improving blood flow to the penis by dilating your blood vessels. One should take these medications at least one hour before performing sexual activity. The dose should be controlled and taking high doses every day is not recommended.
- Placing a rubber ring around the penis: The rubber ring can increase the rigidity of the penis and can help in a better erection. It is recommended when the person is not able to maintain a desired erection for a considerable period. It is best to consult a doctor before using it.
- Penile Implants:
- Rod-shaped implants:
- Vascular Surgery:
- Take proper care and treatment for managing diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic problems.
- Go through regular screenings and medical checkups to keep track of your health.
- Quit bad habits such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.
- Exercise regularly.
- Take steps to manage stress.
- Go for counselling to eliminate anxiety, depression and mental health problems.