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Erectile Dysfunction (ED): What to know

It can be quite alarming when one is unable to get an erection. But Instead of “searching the internet” for your symptoms, read this article to learn everything you need to know about erectile dysfunction. Most importantly, consult a doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

What is Erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and sustain an erection long enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. It could be a sign or symptom of a more serious health challenge such as heart attack, circulatory problems, stroke, etc.

Causes or Risk factors of ED

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by organic and psychological causes, including:

Organic causes may be due to damage from physical trauma, vascular diseases e.g atherosclerosis(hardening of the arteries) limiting blood flow to the penis, and neurological disorders that prevent the nerves from sending impulses.

Psychological factors like stress, performance anxiety, and depression would most likely inhibit the process of getting and keeping an erection.

Medication side effects: Some prescription drugs and medications may cause erectile dysfunction. It is advisable to see a doctor if your experience any symptoms of erectile dysfunction and you are on any of these medications:

  • Diuretics (pills that cause increased urine flow).
  • Antihypertensives
  • Antihistamines.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Parkinson’s disease drugs.
  • Antiarrhythmics.
  • Tranquilizers.
  • Muscle relaxants.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Histamine H2-receptor antagonists.
  • Hormones.
  • Chemotherapy medications.
  • Prostate cancer drugs.
  • Anti-seizure medications.

Abuse of drugs such as Opioids, Nicotine, Cocaine, Marijuana, Amphetamines, Alcohol, etc. can cause damages that can lead to erectile dysfunction. 

The doctor may use fluoroscopy by itself or along with another diagnostic procedure. There might be other reasons why your doctor would recommend fluoroscopy.

Symptoms of ED

The most common is difficulty getting and keeping an erection during sexual intercourse. Others include:

1. Delayed ejaculation

2. Premature ejaculation

3. Reduced interest in having sex

4. Depression and low self-esteem.

Is erectile dysfunction treatable?

There are several surgical and non-surgical treatment options for ED. Treatment will differ amongst patients.

Non – Surgical treatment options for erectile dysfunction

  • Counseling and sex education
  • Drug administration. Doctors may prescribe medications that can be taken orally, injected, or topically administered depending on the evaluation conclusion. 
  • Penile injection therapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Vacuum constriction device

Surgical treatment options for erectile dysfunction

  • penile prosthesis

The most popular penile prosthesis is made up of two inflatable cylinders that are surgically inserted into the penis’ erection chambers. Through tubing, the cylinders are connected to a fluid reservoir under the lower abdominal muscles and a pump located inside the scrotal sac. The pump several times moves fluid from the reservoir to the cylinders in order to inflate the penile prosthesis.

A penile prosthesis does not change the sensation on the skin of the penis or a man’s ability to achieve orgasm or ejaculate. Pressing on a deflation valve attached to the pump returns the fluid to the reservoir, which returns the penis to a flaccid state. 


Accordind to a Bolaji Oyetunde Oyelade et al. on The Pan African Medical Journal, erectile dysfunction is usually underestimated in many developing countries, including Nigeria because it is not a life-threatening condition [2]. Also, due to the associated stigma, men with the problem rarely seek help [2]. Some believe that the condition would resolve on its own (primarily younger men) and others have the perception that ED is a normal part of aging (primarily older men). Approximately half of the men aged 40 to 70 years are said to have some degree of ED [3, however, a large number of men still find it a little difficult to consult a doctor partly because some assume it may be untreatable. Please consult a urologist or your primary care physician if you believe you may have erectile dysfunction. He or she can run tests to determine what is causing your issue and, if necessary, recommend you to a specialist. There are several different treatment options available after the reason has been determined.



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