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I'm Dr. Matthew Ziegelmann, a urologist at Mayo Clinic. In this video, we'll cover the basics of erectile dysfunction. What is it? Who gets it? The symptoms, diagnosis, and the treatments. Whether you're looking for answers for yourself or for someone you love, we're here to give you the best information available. Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is defined by difficulty getting and keeping an erection. It can be an embarrassing thing to talk about. It's been reported that more than half of men between the ages of 40 and 70 experience some form of ED. So take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Experiencing difficulty with erections from time to time is usually no cause for concern. But ongoing issues can cause stress, it can affect self-confidence, and it can contribute to relationship problems. Sometimes it may indicate an underlying condition. The bottom line is that if you experience ED, you should talk about it with your doctor, even if you're embarrassed, because we have a number of ways that we can effectively treat erectile dysfunction. ED can be caused by physical or psychological issues. Sexual arousal is a complicated process. It involves your brain, your hormones, your nerves, your muscles, and your blood vessels. A hiccup in any of these can cause a problem.


The fact is that erectile dysfunction affects men of all ages. However, as you get older, your risk can increase. This is not only because erections take longer to develop, but also that other contributing factors may come into play. Physical issues like heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and smoking can all cause erectile dysfunction. On the other hand, depression, anxieties, stress, relationship problems, and other mental health concerns can also interfere with sexual feelings. And this can cause or worsen your erectile problems. Often, it's a bit of both. So it's important to understand one's physical and psychological state to know the underlying cause of one's erectile dysfunction.

Unlike a lot of medical conditions, the symptoms of erectile dysfunction are rather straightforward. If you have persistent trouble getting or keeping an erection, you might have erectile dysfunction. If you're dealing with any of these symptoms, a family doctor or an internist is usually a good place to start.

Usually, the hardest part of diagnosing erectile dysfunction is overcoming that embarrassment that comes with talking about your ED. But once you talk to your doctor, you'll find that it's common, and a diagnosis can happen quickly. For many people, a physical exam and answering some basic questions about your medical history is all that is needed. If you have chronic health conditions or your doctor suspects an underlying condition might be involved, you could need further tests or a consultation with a specialist such as me.

Millions of men are able to successfully treat their erectile dysfunction. Oral prescription medications are one popular route. Taking medications does not automatically produce an erection. These tablets amplify the effects of nitric oxide. This is a chemical that your body produces that relaxes muscles in the penis. Sexual stimulation releases this chemical and these medications enhance its effect, allowing for an erection. Other less common, but effective, medications for ED include self-injections or urethral suppositories. If medications aren't effective, your doctor may recommend a vacuum penis pump. This device uses a hollow tube to create a vacuum that pulls blood into your penis. Penile implants are another option and involve surgically placing a device that allows the penis to achieve an erection. If your ED is impacting your mental health or your relationship, your doctor may also recommend that you and your partner visit a psychologist or a sexual therapist. What your treatment ultimately looks like depends on the cause and severity of your erectile dysfunction, as well as any underlying health condition that may be present. Your doctor will be able to work with you to find the right solution.

Erectile dysfunction can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss with your doctor, with your partner and with your friends. But don't assume that you're alone. Involve your partner, and communicate openly and honestly about your condition. Try to remember that it's very common. And more importantly, it's very treatable. If you'd like to learn more about erectile dysfunction, here are some other related videos. Or you can visit We wish you well.

Having erection trouble from time to time isn't necessarily a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.

Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these. Likewise, stress and mental health concerns can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction.

Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes erectile dysfunction. For instance, a minor physical condition that slows your sexual response might cause anxiety about maintaining an erection. The resulting anxiety can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction.

The brain plays a key role in triggering the series of physical events that cause an erection, starting with feelings of sexual excitement. A number of things can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:

Problems with erectile dysfunction are super common. If you look at the decade of life, that predicts what percent of men will have problems. So, for example, 50% of 50-year-olds, 60% of 60-year-olds, so on and so forth, will have problems with erections. But that does not necessarily mean that as you get older, you have to have problems of the penis. There are plenty of men in their 60s, 70s and 80s and 90s with great sex lives. In other words, if you take great care your penis, your penis will take great care of you.

Yes and no. So when we talk about what truly is a problem with erectile dysfunction, the definition is a problem that lasts greater than three months and is a consistent inability to obtain or maintain an erection adequate for intercourse. So when young men get problems with erections, which is very, very common because it's normal to have bad nights here and there. And so, if it happens occasionally, you don't need to be as worried about that. But if you have consistent problems, you absolutely should and must get checked out by a doctor to figure out what's going on, not only because there are great treatments available, but because we may discover underlying medical problems.

For many people, a physical exam and answering questions (medical history) are all that's needed for a doctor to diagnose erectile dysfunction and recommend a treatment. If you have chronic health conditions or your doctor suspects that an underlying condition might be involved, you might need further tests or a consultation with a specialist.

Depending on the cause and severity of your erectile dysfunction and any underlying health conditions, you might have various treatment options. Your doctor can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and will consider your preferences. Your partner's preferences also might play a role in your treatment choices.

Taking one of these tablets will not automatically produce an erection. Sexual stimulation is needed first to cause the release of nitric oxide from your penile nerves. These medications amplify that signal, allowing normal penile function in some people. Oral erectile dysfunction medications are not aphrodisiacs, will not cause excitement and are not needed in people who get normal erections.

Your doctor will consider your particular situation to determine which medication might work best. These medications might not treat your erectile dysfunction immediately. You might need to work with your doctor to find the right medication and dosage for you.

Before taking any medication for erectile dysfunction, including over-the-counter supplements and herbal remedies, get your doctor's OK. Medications for erectile dysfunction do not work in everyone and might be less effective in certain conditions, such as after prostate surgery or if you have diabetes. Some medications might also be dangerous if you:

If a penis pump is a good treatment choice for you, your doctor might recommend or prescribe a specific model. That way, you can be sure it suits your needs and that it's made by a reputable manufacturer.

Penile implants. This treatment involves surgically placing devices into both sides of the penis. These implants consist of either inflatable or malleable (bendable) rods. Inflatable devices allow you to control when and how long you have an erection. The malleable rods keep your penis firm but bendable.

Whether the cause is physical, psychological or a combination of both, erectile dysfunction can become a source of mental and emotional stress for you and your partner. Here are some steps you can take:

You can work with a health care professional to treat an underlying cause of your erectile dysfunction (ED). Choosing an ED treatment is a personal decision. However, you also may benefit from talking with your partner about which treatment is best for you as a couple.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Estimates suggest that one of every 10 men will suffer from ED at some point during his lifetime. It is important to understand that in most cases, ED is a symptom of another, underlying problem. ED is not considered normal at any age, and may be associated with other problems that interfere with sexual intercourse, such as lack of desire and problems with orgasm and ejaculation. 041b061a72


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