Erectile Dysfunction Could Be Symptomatic of Another Underlying Health Condition

Few men want to talk about erectile dysfunction (ED). Unfortunately, ED not only affects your intimate relationships and self-confidence, but it can also be a sign of an underlying health issue. The good news is that ED is usually very reversible. 

It’s common to experience occasional episodes of ED that are easy to overcome, especially because of a long workday, stress, or another temporary issue. But, even more persistent ED problems are often reversible with certain changes, like reducing your alcohol consumption, or taking medications designed to help you achieve and maintain a satisfying erection.

At Seskin Urology in Aventura, Florida, Dr. Floyd Seskin has more than 25 years of experience treating men with ED. He notes, however, that successful treatment requires identifying the specific cause of your ED symptoms.

Understanding ED

Most men, and women, expect an erection to be a normal part of male sexual arousal that’s easy to achieve and maintain. In most cases, that’s true, and little effort is needed to obtain a successful erection.

But, achieving and sustaining an erection is actually a complex process. It requires cooperation between your emotions, brain, blood vessels, nerves, muscles, and hormones. If any step in this process misfires, ED occurs.

For example, worrying about whether you will satisfy your sexual partner can trigger anxiety that shuts down all of the positive feelings you may have about sex. This aspect alone can interfere with the messaging taking place between your brain and emotions, leading to ED.

How male sexual arousal works

An erection may begin with mental stimulation, but it also requires physical components for a successful experience. That’s because sexually arousal stimulates penile nerves, and the impulses flowing between your brain and penis cause your penile muscles to relax.

As these muscles relax, blood flows in and fills the open spaces in your penis (corpora cavernosa), which works like a sponge to absorb the excess blood. The increased blood volume creates pressure in the penis, causing it to expand and become erect. The tissue membrane (tunica albuginea) that surrounds the corpora cavernosa traps blood in the area, helping to sustain your erection.

Your erection softens and diminishes when muscles in your penis contract. This stops blood from flowing into the penis and opens the channels that allow blood to flow out of the corpora cavernosa and penis.

When your nerves can’t interact successfully with your brain, they can’t stimulate the muscle contractions required during an erection. And, if blood flow decreases due to issues within your vessels, you may not be able to achieve a satisfactory erection.

Common health conditions behind ED

Several potentially dangerous health problems can affect your ability to maintain and achieve an erection. But, often, identifying and treating these conditions can improve your overall health and effectively reverse ED.

Health conditions often linked to ED include:

Complications seen with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis also cause issues with ED. Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, are also known to impact your ability to achieve and maintain a satisfactory erection.

It’s also important to note certain medications, excessive alcohol use, substance abuse, and smoking can also increase your chances of having ED. Additionally, having surgery to the spinal cord or pelvic region, as well as treatments for prostate cancer, can also lead to ED.

Finding help for ED

Fortunately, Dr. Seskin offers several successful treatments for this often frustrating condition. Plus, treating the underlying health condition (like diabetes) triggering your ED can also reverse your symptoms. Sometimes, just adding exercise alone to your daily routine can help reduce the stress that could be causing your ED.

Don’t ignore ED. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Seskin for a frank discussion to diagnose and treat your ED today.

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