Erectile Dysfunction
Treatment Options & Causes

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Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Who is affected?

Impotence affects about one out of every ten American men, yet many of them don’t seek help because they’re embarrassed, they think there’s no solution or they believe the problem is “all in their minds.” Unfortunately, these men are missing out on a wide variety of treatment options.

How is an erection achieved?

In order to get an erection, several parts of the body must work together. The brain sends a message of sexual arousal through the nervous system to the penis. This message causes the muscles along the penis to relax. At the same time, the artery to the penis dilates to twice its diameter, increasing the blood flow sixteen-fold, and the veins which carry blood away from the penis are blocked. As a result, the two spongy-tissue chambers in the shaft of the penis fill with blood and the penis becomes firm. A breakdown in any of these systems makes getting or keeping an erection difficult.

How am I diagnosed?

Virtually all men occasionally fail to get an erection.

That’s normal. But if a man has trouble getting or maintaining an erection about 25 percent of the time, he should set an appointment immediately.

Usually, after asking questions about when and how the impotence developed, our medical staff will give the patient a complete physical exam to determine if his hormone levels are normal and if the blood vessels, nerves and tissues of his penis are working properly. If this initial work-up doesn’t pinpoint the cause of the problem, a nocturnal penile tumescence test may be done.

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What Are the Physical Causes of Impotence?

Physical impotence occurs when there is a problem with any of the systems needed to get or maintain an erection. The good news is that potency can usually be restored when a man is treated for underlying medical conditions, when medications are adjusted or when lifestyle habits are changed.

Here are some of the top causes of impotence:

  • Vascular Disease: Hardening of the arteries can affect the artery leading to the penis so that it cannot dilate enough to deliver all the blood necessary for an erection. Impotence can also occur if the nerves that control blood flow to the penis are damaged.
  • Diabetes: One out of every four impotent men has diabetes, which can cause nerve deterioration (diabetic neuropathy). Impotence may result if nerves or blood vessels that control the flow of blood to the penis are affected. In some cases, keeping the diet and blood sugar under control can decrease impotence. But permanent nerve damage can result in a chronic problem. Disease of the Nervous System. Some conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries, can affect or cause impotence.
  • Cancer Surgery: Surgery to remove cancer from the prostate, bladder, colon or rectal area can cause impotence if the nerves and blood vessels that control erections are damaged in the process of removing cancerous tissue.
  • Medications: Some prescription medications for high blood pressure, depression, spinal cord injury, diabetes and other conditions can cause temporary impotence by interfering with the nerve impulses or blood flow to the penis. Doctors may be able to adjust the dosage of a drug or change the medication to reverse or minimize the problem.
  • Smoking: A recent study at the New England Research Institute in Watertown, Massachusetts, found that impotence was equally common among smokers and non-smokers in general. However, among men with certain health problems, those who smoked were much more likely to have potency problems. For example, 56 percent of smokers with heart disease were completely impotent compared with only 21 percent of non-smokers with the disease.
  • Alcoholism: Excessive alcohol consumption disrupts hormone levels and can lead to nerve damage. This type of impotence may be reversible or permanent depending on the severity of the nerve damage. Some clinical studies suggest about 25 percent of all alcoholics become impotent–even after they stop drinking.
  • Hormone Imbalance: Abnormal testosterone levels are rare, but they can cause impotence. In addition, other illnesses, such as kidney failure and liver disease, can disrupt the balance of hormones.

MEN’S HEALTH LTD in Baltimore is dedicated to helping patients achieve Stronger Erections and better Sexual Performance. We are not just some ED Doctor. MEN’S HEALTH LTD is the premier treatment option for men suffering from Erectile Dysfunction.

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