Erectile Dysfunction

Treatments to help men restore sexual performance

Elderly couple smilingEach year, between 15–30 million men are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED). This condition is caused by a number of contributing factors and results in an inability to achieve or maintain an erection. Also known as impotence, this health issue can be caused by physical factors brought on by old age or psychological factors such as stress or anxiety. No matter the reason for erectile dysfunction, men should know it is treatable. West Jefferson Medical Center helps more and more men seeking treatment each year.

What causes ED?

During erection, two spongy tissue chambers called the corpora cavernosa fill with blood and cause the penis to elongate and harden. Stimulus for erection can be mental or physical in its origin. Impulses from the brain cause the muscles of the corpora cavernosa to release blood into the penis, and then a membrane surrounding the cavernosa—called the tunica albuginea—contains the blood to create pressure.

If any of these functions are disrupted in some way—whether through illness or surgery—the person will be unable to achieve or maintain an erection. Oftentimes this is caused by tissue and nerve damage that results from disease.

Diseases that can cause harm resulting in ED include:

  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Treatments with medications that cause ED
  • Psychological factors like stress, anxiety, and depression

Diagnosis & treatment of ED

By assessing a person’s medical history, physicians will be able to draw any connections to past surgeries or prescriptions that could have caused ED. Urologists will also look to other means to search for more clues about what could be causing the problem.Physician writing in chart

Following an assessment of medical history, doctors will look for ED through:

  • Physical exam – The urologist checks for signs of ED through checking for proper functioning sensation in the penis, looks for irregularities in the body that could suggest hormonal imbalance, and inspects for any other potential problems
  • Laboratory tests – Lab technicians can detect any unusual testosterone counts as well as look for problems in the blood, urine, and other fluids and chemicals
  • Other tests – Some control tests such as a sleep study can help demonstrate if ED is a psychological problem over a physical one
  • Psychosocial exam – By learning about a man’s sexual expectations and expectations, doctors can learn more about what may be causing their issue

Depending on the diagnosis, treatment options can vary from making minor lifestyle changes to undergoing surgery.

Some treatment options for ED could include: Person smoking

  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising more
  • Psychotherapy to relieve anxiety
  • Starting new medication or stopping and existing one
  • Hormone therapy
  • Vacuum devices to help increase circulation
  • Surgery to change the physiology of the penis

Learn more about potential treatment options by calling our clinic at 504.934.8100.