The topic of today’s article is erectile dysfunction also known as ED. What’s important to remember is erectile dysfunction is referring to impotence. And impotence is different from infertility. Remember, impotence is basically a problem relating to the inability to achieve the proper erection, whereas infertility is different. Infertility basically has to do with the problem with the sperm, when the sperm count is low, or the sperm morphology is abnormal. So it is very important distinction.
So erectile dysfunction or ED is a very common problem, and there are five reasons why it can happen in men. The first one is psychological. It is usually due to some sort of depression, anxiety or stress. Number two and three are what we call organic causes. And organic causes are by far the most common. 90% of all ED cases are because of the reasons 2 and 3. Two is a vascular problem, and three is a neurologic problem. And vascular is the most common. Number 4 is some hormonal problems, and number five is medication side effects.
Now I want to talk a little bit about number two. Number two – vascular problems – what do we mean by that? A man can have other disorders such as diabetes or high cholesterol, and this can eventually cause atherosclerosis of the arteries that provide blood to the penis.
And very quickly I want also touch on the psychological cause of ED. Psychological essentially can be thought as any problems that the man is experiencing like anxiety, or stress, or depression, and this is known to be a reason for developing erectile dysfunction. And it sometimes can also be partner-specific, meaning the person is able to get an erection, but he just can’t get an erection with his partner. So that’s also very important aspect.
Diagnosis of ED
So then how do you a diagnosis this? Diagnosis of ED usually doesn’t involve any tests; it is usually just clinical. You can order some test such as the testosterone level, I mean technically you can order a whole bunch of tests: you can order every hormone level and do all kinds of testing, but usually it’s not done. Usually is just a clinical diagnosis. One key thing I wanted to touch on is when we’re talking about psychological reasons what you need to have is some sort of the dialogue with the patients and ask them, for example, “do you get erections, do you ever get an erection? Can you get an erection in the morning or at night? Are you able to get it in a situation that does not involve your partner?” And the reason you ask that is because you want to see, you want to rule out an organic cause, because if the patient has an organic cause, then the patient will have a difficulty getting an erection all settings.