Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a major health problem among adult men, especially in men with 40 years and older. It is estimated that in Australia ED afflicts one in five men over the 40. But is a frequent condition even in younger people.
Also known as impotence, ED is the ongoing inability to attain an erection or to maintain it during a sexual intercourse. Having some troubles to get an erection from time to time it’s not pathological: it’s actually a very common occurrence and it’s totally normal. When becomes a frequent issue can be a cause of concern and the resulting psychological conditions can often worsen the problem. Erectile dysfunction itself can, in fact, be caused by stress, lack of self confidence and other mental health concerns. In other words impotence can be cause by several different triggering factors, not only physiological and also can be quite diverse in severity from subject to subject.
As we have seen, stress and mental issues can be a major cause of erectile dysfunction, but it can also be a consequence of it
The same can be said for depression, that is often accompanied to ED and is itself a widespread condition in Australia, affecting every year more than one in twenty adult persons. It’s clear that impotence sometimes is the result of a combination of psychological and physical factors. Physiological cause of erectile dysfunction are mainly connected with a poor lifestyle and the ensuing health conditions. Obesity,high blood pressure, tobacco and alcohol abuse, high cholesterol are all main causes for impotence. But also other heart diseases, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and other health conditions could lead to an ED and surgery like treatments for prostate cancer can often impair the ability to get an erection permanently.
The major Risk factor associated with erectile dysfunction is ageing
In Australia approximately one in four men aged 50 – 59 suffers from some form of ED, while within the age group of 60-69 occurrence increase to nearly one in two. Other factor risks includes medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, use of antidepressants, abuse of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, being overweight, stress, anxiety and depression as stated before.
Often impotence can lead to psychological and even relational problems:
On that basis Australian institutions recommend patients to follow a path of counselling and psychotherapy. Often is advisable to do couples therapy if erectile dysfunction affects relationship with the partner.
Anyway it’s always advisable to get an appointment with a doctor especially given the fact that in Australia a prescription is required to buy erectile Dysfunction drugs but also for clinical assessment and medical follow up. It’s important to relying on health professional to properly address this condition as often men tend not to speak of their sexual difficulties even with their medical officer. Moreover we must consider that erection problems can hide underlying heart diseases and ED symptoms should be evaluated by a medical personnel to rule out possible medical issues.
According to the guidelines of Australian Department of Health the first step a doctor will take is treatment of the ED causing conditions.
When erectile dysfunction has been diagnosed, a general practitioner has at his disposal three treatment options. First- line, second-line and third line ED treatments.
The first line treatments are non invasive and mainly based on oral tablet drugs.
Inhibitors of Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5i) are the most commonly used medical treatments for ED. It is estimated that are effective in 70% of ED affected subjects. PDE5i drugs help the penis having a normal response to sexual stimuli, thus not causing an erection but easing the flow of blood inside the sexual organ.
Viagra is the most known brand of this class of drugs, Cialis, Levitra and stendra are other well known brands of ED drugs available for purchasing in Australia with a medical prescription but also very common in web based pharmacies.
The second line therapy for ED, also known as penile injection therapy, consist in the injection of specific drugs directly into the penis. It’s a painful approach, developed at the end of seventies and used only when first line approach is not effective. The active substance used in this therapy is Alprostadil, a synthetic prostaglandin, that act as a vasodilator. Best known brand of Alprostadil brand is Caverject but lots of generics are available as different formulation drugs.
When first and second line approaches aren’t working the last line of action are surgical treatments
Penile implants are inflatable prosthesis that can produce erections through pumps usually implanted in testicles. Vascular reconstructive surgery consist of implementation of bypass from the abdomen to a penile artery to improve blood flow in the penis.
Penile surgery may result in penis shortening, scarring and other differences that can lead to reduced sensation in patients who have undergone this type of invasive treatment.
In Australia these kind of surgery are typically fully reimbursed by private health insurance, otherwise penile surgery must be self-finance and have a cost of more that 10000 $.
In conclusion the safest approach to erectile dysfunction is to speak with a doctor and determine the strategy on scientific the basis, avoiding to ignore or minimize the problem that can worsen with time or could lead to more serious health conditions.