What are signs & symptoms of ED?

If a man is having trouble getting or keeping an erection they are suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). Most men have problems with erections at some point. The reasons can be many, some minor and some serious. It is important to be open with your doctor and discuss other symptoms of erectile dysfunction, so the causes are understood and treated.

Signs you may have  ED include:

  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Trouble keeping an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • Avoidance of sexual contact because of stress or being “too busy”

Physical causes of erectile dysfunction

Medical conditions including:

  • Heart disease
  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Gout
  • Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis

Side Effects caused by:

  • Certain prescription medications including antidepressants, antihistamines and medications to treat high blood pressure, pain or prostate conditions
  • Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
  • Radiation treatments
  • Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
  • Tobacco use (restricts blood flow to veins and arteries, which over time can cause chronic health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction)
  • Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse

Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction

The brain plays a key role in triggering the series of physical events that cause an erection, starting with feelings of sexual excitement. A number of things can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:

  • Depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions
  • Stress
  • Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns
  • Excessive use of porn

Prevention

The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to make healthy lifestyle choices and to manage any existing health conditions including:

  • Working with your doctor to manage diabetes, heart disease or other chronic health conditions
  • See your doctor for regular checkups and medical screening tests
  • Stop smoking and don’t drink excessively
  • Avoid powerful narcotics and illegal drugs
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take steps to reduce stress
  • Get help for anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns.

Also having sex regularly and masturbating helps keep the penis healthy in the same way that using a muscle keeps it strong.