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Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a man has trouble getting or keeping an erection. ED becomes more common as you get older.
Inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance.
Some medicines can cause erectile dysfunction. Drinking too much alcohol, smoking too much and abusing drugs can also cause erectile dysfunction.
Several causes of erectile dysfunction:
- Diabetes (high blood sugar)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Some prescription medications, such as antidepressants, pain medicine, etc.
- Brain or spinal-cord injuries
- Hypogonadism (which leads to lower testosterone levels)
You can prevent erectile dysfunction by making healthy lifestyle choices and managing any existing health problems. Work with your doctor to manage diabetes, heart disease or other chronic health problems. See your doctor for regular checkups and medical screening tests. Stop smoking, limit alcohol, and don’t use illicit drugs, and exercise regularly.
Your doctor can offer several new treatments for ED. For many men, the answer is as simple as taking a pill. Getting more exercise, losing weight or stopping smoking may also help. If the medicines aren’t right for you, you could also try using a penile implant, vacuum pump devices, or you could have surgery. Your doctor may send you to an urologist to talk about these options.
References: Harvard Medical School; Johns Hopkins Medicine; and National Institutes of Health – National Library of Medicine