Erectile dysfunction (ED), also called impotence, is the type of sexual dysfunction in which the penis fails to become or stay erect during sexual activity. It is the most common sexual problem in men. Through its connection to self-image and to problems in sexual relationships, erectile dysfunction can cause psychological harm.
As a patient, you have a lot of power to decrease your personal risk of erectile dysfunction.
And at the same time, you’re actually decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke, because it’s the same risk factors, again the blood pressure, the diabetes, the cholesterol, smoking, and to a certain degree, your family history and certain medications that may increase your risk.
So it’s been said – and it’s an important concept – that the penis in many ways is an early warning device that you’re at risk for a heart attack. If you’ve developed erectile dysfunction or you’re starting to lose your erectile function, yes there are medications to treat that and we want the public to partake of that if they wish to do so.
But at the same time you’ve always got to ask “Why is this happening to me? What is it about my body that has allowed the erections to stop being reliable?” And the answer may be “I’ve got to stop smoking. I’ve had high blood pressure that I’m thinking of taking pills and I haven’t yet.”
The fact that you’re losing your erection is a warning that it’s hurting your vascular system. It’s damaging those blood vessels inside the penis. Perhaps you have high cholesterol you weren’t aware of. Perhaps you haven’t seen a physician for many years and you’ve got high blood sugars – you’ve actually got diabetes. And the fact that your erections aren’t working is a clue.
So in addition to those other risk factors for erectile dysfunction include some metabolic causes such as low testosterone, which is an uncommon but significant issue. Depression can be an issue, drug side effects can be an issue, so again, you know, go in and address these issues with your primary care practitioner.
Get therapy for it but also ask “Why is it that this is developed and is there something that I should be doing with my lifestyle to help improve my health?”
Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist
Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, discusses Erectile Dysfunction, Diabetes and Related Risk Factors – Endocrinologist