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Erectile dysfunction can be described as not being able to maintain or get a proper erection. ED can occur in different cases, like, getting a partial erection but not hard enough for proper sex, lack of fullness and swelling of the penis. Erectile dysfunction is sometimes called impotence.
The narrowing of the arteries whose function is to transport blood to the penis is the cause of most erectile dysfunctional cases. This cause is due to the build-up of fatty deposits (atheroma), the same way heart arteries are affected in those with heart disease. Erectile dysfunction is commonly treated by the use of a tablet before sexual intercourse.
There are various situations where men do not get an erection some of which include areas of stress, tiredness, distraction or getting inebriated with alcohol. In most men ED is temporary and they do get a proper erection when fully aroused.
However, in some cases, there are men who have persistent ED and this tends to become a common occurrence as they increase in age. About half of men between the ages of 40 and 70 have ED. About 7 in 10 men aged 70 and above have ED.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction may include:
In the treatment of an erectile dysfunction there are various available treatment options depending on the cause and the severity of the problem. In choosing a method of treatment the risks and benefits of the available treatment options can be explained by the doctor. The preference of one’s partner can also factor in a treatment choice.
There are various treatment options for erectile dysfunction and they largely depend on the cause and severity. Some treatments include:
Low-intensity shockwave therapy (LIST) to the penis has been found to be an effective treatment for patients with erectile dysfunction that are not responsive to oral medications. In this treatment, focused shockwaves of low intensity are targeted at the smooth muscle in the penis, causing mechanical shear stress and micro trauma. This causes the body to produce chemicals to improve blood flow and stimulate new vessel formation (angiogenesis) to the cavernosal tissue in the penile shaft. Current treatment protocols comprise six sessions lasting 15 – 20 minutes each, over a three-week period, where shockwaves are administered to the penis. Whilst several patients report an improvement in erectile function, the response may wane over time and repeat treatment may be required.