Are you facing problems in your sexual performance? If you are not able to get an erection or find it difficult to perform sexual intercourse, there is help at hand. You may be suffering from a sexual disorder known as ‘Erectile Dysfunction’ or ED in short. Let us get a clear view of your condition and discover the probable cause for it.
What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile Dysfunction is the repeated inability to perform sexual intercourse due to lack of erection. It is also commonly called impotence which is a broader term. Men with erection problems are able to perform other sexual functions. They may have desire for sex, still may be able to experience orgasms and ejaculate semen. Most men between the ages of 40 to 70 years have ED to some degree which increases with age.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Mostly ED is caused by a combination of physical as well as psychological issues.
Reduction of blood flow to the penis and nerve damage mainly causes ED. This is caused by a number of factors. Let us explore the possible reasons that may be causing you to underperform:
- Drugs: Taking drugs for various conditions may result in ED. They may range from anti depressants, tranquilizers, sedatives, heart medicines, medication for high blood pressure etc.
- Alcoholism and smoking: Long term effects of smoking and consumption of alcohol result in ED. The blood vessels and nerves leading to an erection get irreparably damaged due to tobacco and alcohol abuse.
- Venous leak: It happens when the veins in the penis do not close adequately during erection, the blood as well as the pressure leak out of the penis. This causes too little pressure in the penis to build up and sustain an erection.
- Heart disorders: A cardiovascular disease may also lead to ED. This is because there is low circulation of blood near the heart region which causes erection disorders.
5. Diabetes: It is a major reason for ED. Around 50% of men with diabetes face the problem of ED. Due to diabetes the blood vessels and nerve tissues get damaged. This disrupts the nerve impulse to and from the brain. It therefore impedes the blood flow required for erection.
6. Hormonal imbalance: Hormones play a major role in your sexual wellness. If your testosterone levels go down, your libido gets adversely affected. Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism lower your testosterone level that causes a decline in your libido. Liver or kidney disorders also create hormonal imbalance.
7. Neurological disorders: If you have experienced spinal cord or brain injuries, then it may cause ED. This is because the nerve impulses get adversely affected and are not able to transfer the impulses from the brain to the penis. Neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis etc. may also affect the libido and cause ED.
8. Surgery: If a person has undergone surgery affecting the pelvic region, it may cause ED. If the surgery is performed in the prostate, rectum, colon or bladder, the nerves and arteries that cause erection may get damaged. There are some procedures for prostate cancer surgery that may reduce the risk of injury to the nerves and tissues around the penis area.
9. Peyronie’s disease: It is an inflammation that results in scarring of the erectile tissue. This scar tissue is also known as Peyronie’s plaque. It causes the blood in the penis to leak back to the body and makes it very difficult to form and maintain an erection. The penis gets curved that it makes sexual intercourse nearly impossible.
10. Psychological problems: Psychological reasons are secondary in comparison to physical causes of ED. But they are also equally capable of causing ED. Just like feeling of sexual arousal gets generated in the brain, similarly negative thoughts too can cause a decline in libido. Stress and feelings of anxiety generating from home or work may cause impotency. Worrying about sexual performance, problems in marital life, confusion about one’s sexual orientation and depression also trigger erectile dysfunction.
What are the Tests Done for Erectile Dysfunction?
It is best to consult an urologist who will be able to guide you on the latest therapies for erectile dysfunction. You can also consult a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist to identify any emotional issues that may cause ED. They will usually discuss your medical history with you and do a physical examination. There are many tools for evaluation of ED. Some of them are:
Blood tests are done to check testosterone level, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, thyroid function, liver function and kidney function.
Ultrasound is done to check the condition of penile arteries, to see vascular dilation and measure penile pressure.
Ateriography is done to see blockages in the penile arteries generally before surgery.
Nocturnal Penile Tumescence or NPT Test is done to measure the erections at night.
Cavernosography is done to ascertain venous leakage.
The line of treatment depends on the cause of ED. It can be invasive as well as non invasive. The mode of treatments varies from getting counselling, taking oral medicines, taking self injections, taking hormonal treatment, using vacuum erection devices or undergoing surgery. Every mode of treatment has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Its effectiveness differs from person to person. It also depends on the patient’s choice.
What are the Ayurvedic and Home Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction?
There are several beneficial home remedies for ED in Ayurveda. They are as follows:
- Grind a few cloves of garlic and add them to a small cup of oil. Heat the oil until the garlic cloves are slightly red. Cool the oil and then apply it to the penis on a daily basis.
- Mix seeds of Holy Basil (Tulsi) in half a cup or one cup of milk. Drink this milk every day.
- Take some powdered Rasna herb and make a paste of it using some oil. Apply this paste on the penis at bed time.
- A folklore remedy- Dry ginger powder should be added to donkey's milk. This milk should be heated and then cooled. Massage this milk on the penis several times at night. The consistency of the milk should not be too watery).
- To half a bowl of chopped carrots, add 1 half boiled egg and 2 tbsp honey and mix well. Have this mixture daily in the morning for a month.
- For sexual debility- a few drumstick flowers should be boiled in a glass of milk. Drink this lukewarm milk twice a day.
- Increase the consumption of dry fruits and black currants.
- Take a mixture of equal quantities of powdered walnut and honey.
Awareness is the best form of prevention. Erectile dysfunction can be successfully managed with the help and support of your partner as well as your health care provider. Communicate your problems with your doctor and discuss all treatment options. Take preventive steps to minimise the risk of developing such a condition in near future.
If you have any queries, remedies or alternative therapies for treating ED, do share them with us!