Erectile dysfunction, which in the past was called impotence, is a disorder characterized by the inability to obtain and maintain adequate rigidity of the penis during penetration, so as to prevent a complete and satisfactory sexual relationship.
The Erectile Dysfunction, often improperly indicated with the term "impotence", is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection sufficiently valid to allow satisfactory sexual intercourse. The term erectile dysfunction is more correct than the term impotence, precisely because it defines more precisely the nature of this sexual dysfunction. A normal erection implies a correct integrated function of the nervous, circulatory, and endocrine systems. Therefore erectile dysfunction can originate not only from psychological conditions but also from organic factors of avascular, neurological or hormonal nature.
What are the symptoms and complications?
The typical symptomatic picture of erectile dysfunction includes difficulty in getting an erection, difficulty in maintaining an erection, decrease in sexual desire, and lack of the so-called phenomenon of nocturnal penile tumescence.
Sometimes, depending on the triggering causes, these symptoms are added: problems of ejaculation and difficulty in orgasm.
If incurable or not treated appropriately, erectile dysfunction can have an extremely negative effect on the life of the men concerned; in fact, it can be a reason for:
- Unsatisfactory sex life;
- Stress, anxiety and/or panic ;
- Strong embarrassment and/or low self-esteem ;
- Relationship problems;
- Inability to impregnate the partner, to have a child.
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Let's see the causes of erectile dysfunction
The causes of erectile dysfunction are numerous; in fact, a more or less marked incapacity for penile erection can depend on some medical conditions (physical causes), on the use of certain medicines, on specific psychic conditions (psychological causes) and on other further circumstances (other causes).
PHYSICAL CAUSES OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Doctors distinguish five types of physical causes:
- The traumatic physical causes. They include all circumstances in which penile trauma causes erection failure.
- Erectile dysfunction following penile trauma is also called post-traumatic erectile dysfunction.
- The vascular physical causes. They include all medical conditions that impair blood supply to the penis.
- Erectile dysfunction due to these conditions is called vasculogenic erectile dysfunction.
- The neurological physical causes. They contain all the medical conditions that compromise the health of the nervous system and its control action on the penis.
- Erectile dysfunction resulting from these conditions is called neurogenic erectile dysfunction.
- The hormonal physical causes. All the medical conditions that alter the production of hormones involved in the phenomenon of penile erection belong to this type of cause.
- Erectile dysfunction due to these conditions is also called hormonal erectile dysfunction.
- The anatomical physical causes. They include all medical conditions that involve an anatomical alteration of the penis.
- Erectile dysfunction dependent on these conditions is better known as anatomical erectile dysfunction.
TRAUMATIC PHYSICAL CAUSES
According to some statistical surveys, 15-25% of men suffering from severe head trauma to the penis develop erectile dysfunction.
Doctors also consider erectile dysfunction resulting from damage to the penis post-traumatic, which can inadvertently occur during surgery on the genitals.
VASCULAR PHYSICAL CAUSES
Examples of vascular conditions that may cause erectile dysfunction are: cardiovascular diseases (eg, atherosclerosis, heart diseases, etc.), L ' hypertension, and diabetes with its complications.
NEUROLOGICAL PHYSICAL CAUSES
Among the neurological causes of erectile dysfunction include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, the injury to the spinal cord, and the ' stroke and its complications.
HORMONAL PHYSICAL CAUSES
Typical examples of hormonal conditions that can cause erectile dysfunction are: hypogonadism, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and Cushing 's syndrome.
ANATOMICAL PHYSICAL CAUSES
The best known anatomical anomaly capable of causing erectile dysfunction is the so-called Peyronie's disease.
Medicines that can cause erectile dysfunction
Among the drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction, they include:
- The diuretics. They are used to increase urine production; they are indicated in the treatment of conditions, such as hypertension, heart failure, and kidney disease ;
- The antihypertensives (eg beta-blockers ). They are used to treat hypertension ;
- The fibrates. Belonging to the category of lipid-lowering drugs (drugs that lower blood lipid levels ), they are used in the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia (i.e. the presence of triglycerides in the blood );
- The antipsychotics. They are used to treat some mental illnesses, primarily schizophrenia ;
- The antidepressants. They are mainly indicated for the treatment of depression and secondarily for the treatment of certain types of pain ;
- The corticosteroids. Based on cortisol, corticosteroids are mainly used as anti-inflammatory and immune system suppressors ;
- The H2 blockers or histamine H2 receptor. Through a particular bio cellular mechanism, they reduce the production of acid digestive juices by the stomach. Doctors prescribe H2 blockers to treat conditions such as gastritis (e.g. chronic gastritis ), peptic ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, etc;
- The anticonvulsants. They are used to treat epilepsy ;
- The antihistamines. They are used in the treatment of symptoms induced by allergic reactions (eg seasonal allergies, etc.);
- The anti-androgens. They are drugs that have the function of preventing or inhibiting the biological effects of androgens, male sex hormones. Anti-androgens are used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, hirsutism, male androgenic baldness, etc .;
- The cytotoxics. They are a category of chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy drugs, or more simply chemotherapy drugs, are medicines indicated in the treatment of tumors.
Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction
As stated in the initial premise, mechanisms of an emotional nature also act on erection. Therefore, the possibility of having a good erection or not also depends, to a certain extent, on the psyche.
Having specified this, doctors consider psychological causes of erectile dysfunction:
- The Depression. Prolonged periods of low mood, sadness, etc. they can affect erection capacity even in a profound way;
- L ' anxiety. Uncomfortable, worried, fearful situations are potential causes of anxiety
- Emotional problems or trauma, which can arise from:
- Relationship problems;
- History of one or more sexual abuses;
- Sexual inexperience;
- History of sexual ailments or dysfunctions
- Start of a new relationship.
Do you know the risk factors?
The risk factors for erectile dysfunction include:
- The ' aging ;
- Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases; to learn more, read: Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction »
- The cigarette smoking and tobacco use in general;
- The overweight and the ' obesity ;
- Some medical treatments, including prostate surgery and radiation therapy ;
- Traumatic injuries to the penis;
- The use of those drugs, reported in a previous subchapter, capable of causing erectile dysfunction;
- The presence of depression, anxiety, and other psycho-emotional problems;
- Alcohol abuse;
- The use of drugs.
Erectile Dysfunction Therapy
Impotence treatment involves a causal therapy, i.e. a therapy aimed at contrasting the cause triggering erection disorders, and sometimes asymptomatic therapy, i.e. a treatment aimed at facilitating an erection and improving the quality of the patient's sexual life.
The causal therapy of impotence varies according to the triggering cause, therefore it differs from patient to patient.
Here are some examples of causal therapy of impotence of particular interest:
- If impotence depends on a deficiency of the testosterone hormone (hypogonadism), the causal treatment consists of a hormone replacement therapy based on synthetic testosterone.
- If impotence arises from the presence of diabetes, the causal therapy consists of accurate control, with all the appropriate drugs, of the blood sugar.
- If impotence is the result of heart disease, the causal treatment involves the treatment of this disease (in this case, the therapeutic options are numerous and vary according to the cardiac pathology present).
- If impotence is related to smoking, alcohol abuse, and/or drug use, causal therapy is to correct these habits, in favor of a healthier lifestyle.
- If impotence has psychological causes, the causal treatment may consist of a form of sexual therapy (e.g. the so-called sensory focus) and/or the so-called cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy.
Especially useful when causal therapy does not resolve root erection disorders, symptomatic therapy for impotence can be pharmacological or surgical.
Generally, doctors give priority to drugs, as they are effective and quite safe solutions, and reserve the right to resort to surgery only in the event that the aforementioned drugs do not bring any benefit.
The natural cures and remedies for erectile dysfunction
- Anise ( Pimpinella anisum L.) → (presumed) aphrodisiac properties
- Ginseng ( Panax ginseng ) → improves the state of mental and physical well - being, increases the level of serotonin in the brain structures and increases the levels of ACTH (especially if associated with ginkgo Biloba ); the saponosides present induce relaxation of the vessels at the penile level through the induction of NO synthesis, the release of NO at the level of the cavernous body and the decrease in intracellular calcium
- Eleutherococcus ( Eleutherococcus senticosus ) → adaptogenic, aphrodisiac properties, central nervous system stimulants, antidepressants, general tonics
- Andean macaque ( Lepidium meyenii Walp.) → aphrodisiac, adaptogenic properties. Known for its ability to stimulate sexual energies
- Yohimbine ( Corynanthe Yohimbe ): alkaloid molecule with aphrodisiac activity
- Saffron ( Crocus sativus ) → aphrodisiac properties
- L- Arginine: the substance increases the production of nitric oxide at the neuronal and endothelial levels
- L- citrulline: the substance is converted into arginine by increasing the production of nitric oxide at the neuronal and endothelial levels
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