By: Laura Miller


Erectile Dysfunction is defined by the Mayo Clinic as the “inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.” Around 52% of men will suffer from ED in one form or another during their lifetime; the chances increase with age, though the risk exists at any time from the early 20s onward. Currently, around 30 million men in the United States suffer from ED.

Different people experience ED in different ways; some can’t produce an erection, others cannot maintain one. Some have simply lost the desire for sex. The exact cause of ED must be decided by a doctor, but once the problem is identified treatment is not far behind.


ED is usually caused by one of these five things:

1. Illness/Disease

One of the most common reasons of ED, a possible illness, should always be the first thing ruled out. Heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes are only a few of the possible physical reasons a man may experience ED.


2. Medication

Because of the way they interact with the body, certain medications might result in ED, including antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure meds, and certain pain medications.


3. Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs

Tobacco restricts blood flow to both veins and arteries, which in time can lead to ongoing problems with ED. Additionally, long term alcohol and drug use, which imparts extreme stress on your system, can lead to ED as well.


4. Sleep Disorder

Men who are affected by certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are at a much higher risk of developing ED. During sleep apnea, testosterone levels dip and oxygen is restricted. Couple this with the elevated level of stress and fatigue caused by a lack of sleep, and the body is ripe for ED.


5. Stress

Whether a parent has fallen ill or a work deadline is looming, stress is one of the leading reasons for a multitude of health issues, including ED. Because of its overarching reach, including effects on the nervous system, blood vessels, muscles, hormones, and emotions, stress affects how your brain signals your body’s physical response.


ED treatment options:

Though inconvenient, ED can usually be treated. In addition to following a healthy diet exercising regularly and avoiding drugs, excessive alcohol and tobacco use, there are several ways to combat erectile dysfunction.

1. Medications

The market contains numerous medicinal options for men experiencing ED; Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra are some of the top sellers. Each of these prescriptions are made to enhance nitric oxide in the body, which is a chemical the body naturally produces and allows erections to occur. While an erection is not automatic, most men see a return to normal levels of arousal when taking the pill.

Other medication options include Alprostadil self-injection. A small amount of medicine is injected into the side of the penis that results in a short-lived erection.

Alprostadil urethral suppository is a small suppository that can be placed inside the penile urethra using a special tool. Resulting erections last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.

Lastly, testosterone replacement therapy has been used with great success in men with low levels of testosterone. Options include a skin patch, gel, mouth patch, or injections, all excellent ways to get the testosterone directly into the blood stream. A simple testosterone pill is discouraged, however, because of its potential negative impacts on the liver.


2. Implants and Devices

For some men, medications aren’t effective or able to be taken. Implants and other devices play a vital role in treating ED, in these cases.

The penis pump, also called a vacuum erection device, is a popular choice. They can be hand-powered or battery-powered; a cylindrical tube is placed over the penis and the pump action pulls blood into the penis, creating an erection.


3. Surgery

Implants, while effective, are a last resort. Two small devices are placed onto both sides of the penis, giving the owner the flexibility to create an erection and control how long it lasts.


4. Natural options

For those wishing to go a more natural route, several options are available.

Therapy can help one work through any stress and negative feeling that might be causing the ED. A therapist can help identify and resolve the underlying issues, which, for many, cures the ED.

Meditation, yoga, and exercise are all proven methods of erasing anxiety and stress, as well as alleviating some physical issues that contribute to ED.

Additionally, there are several natural herbs and supplements that claim to ease the effects of ED, including Panax ginseng, black maca, kava, and chamomile.

In conclusion, the age-old adage that “it happens to every man” isn’t too far from the truth. And with a little digging and lifestyle change, erectile dysfunction can become a thing of the past.


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And while you are here, be sure to check out these great blogs:

Marijuana and erectile dysfunction

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About The Docs


Idris is the creation of twin OB/Gyn Doctors Jamil and Idries Abdur-Rahman. Jamil (Dr. J) and Idries (Dr. I) were inspired to start after participating on season 22 of CBS’ ‘The Amazing Race’.

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