Erectile Dysfunction (ED) FAQs

Will masturbation cause erectile dysfunction?

This is a very popular query, especially amongst younger men. Masturbation definitely will not cause impotence or ED. In fact it is a safe means to let go of one’s sexual urges.

Are most erection problems psychological and temporary?

Most ED problems are not due to psychological reasons, although psychogenic reasons too cause ED. In younger men there are plenty of cases where ‘performance anxiety’ is known to cause the ED syndrome. Again, a lot of the ED problems are not temporary but can be treated with a combination of medicines and healthy lifestyle.

Do ED treatments really work?

Oh yes, they do and the options are plenty. But it is common for some medicines not to work immediately. Sometimes repeat doses maybe needed. Again, it is to be remembered that erection will also need arousal. Apart from PDE inhibitors like Viagra/sildenafil, Cialis and Levitra, there are other treatment options like penile injections with prostaglandin injection therapy which can almost always achieve an erection.

There are other options like vacuum pumps which also have a high success rate and are actually quite popular with elderly men who are sometimes advised by their GP to complement it with PDE5 inhibitor medicines like Cialis or Viagra/sildenafil.

Is sexual drive related to ED?

Men with ED do show a decline in sexual desire, but many a time they are not linked directly. Loss of libido could be related to fear of failure, diseases, adolescent experiences, stress, ED etc. One may need to go for a blood test to determine the sex hormone profile after which the GP could suggest something. Good exercise and lifestyle always help.

Does Viagra/sildenafil really work or is it a psychological motivator?

Viagra/sildenafil definitely works biologically and there is a science to it all. But in various case studies it has been proved that men who take Viagra/sildenafil also develop confidence in bed and there have been instances when few people who were on placebos reported good results. So Viagra/sildenafil does work as a medicine but it is also known to inculcate sexual confidence in men.

Are there any exercises to improve erectile function?

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction can try some exercises. These exercises can be done to compliment their current oral medication treatments with Viagra/sildenafil or Cialis. They are pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises. The exercise is meant to target the pelvic floor which is a muscle around the bladder and pubic bone.

To keep it simple, you basically need to feel the muscle around the urethra and anus. Draw the anal and urethra muscles in from the inside and hold it that way for about 5-7 seconds and then let go. Do a set of 10 at a time and then relax for about ten seconds. So 2 such sets of 10 and follow this with short squeeze sessions of 6 where the hold period is 3 seconds.

Do this routine atleast 4 times a day. The Impotence association encourages these exercises and urges ED sufferers to compliment their oral ED medications with these exercises to improve blood circulation to the penis.

What are the dangers of penile injections?

Penile injections like caverjet are known to work very well, but the dose has to be moderated. Overdose can lead to hours of erection which can cause complications. Case studies have shown that 1-8% of men showed a tendency to develop penile fibrosis with long term use of injections. But the good news is that in many of the cases the fibrosis condition improved on its own.

How will ED treatment affect Angina medication?

This question is popular as ED and angina affect a lot of the senior population. It is a well known fact that angina medications are mostly nitrates and they are proven to interact with PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra/sildenafil. Some GPs though advice on a low doses of the PDE5 inhibitors in such cases but ensure that it is not taken back to back with Angina medication.

Nowadays some treatments other than nitrates are showing good results for Angina and GPs are more comfortable prescribing ED medications in such cases. It is very important to inform your doctor of any cardiovascular problems when you discuss your erectile dysfunction problem.

Could medications cause ED?

Medications can also be a cause for ED. Drugs like warfarin and enalapril that are prescribed for heart patients can cause ED, although not in all cases. In general such patients are not prescribed Cialis, Viagra/sildenafil or Levitra although some doctors may consider prescribing low doses on a case by case basis.

Injectable therapies are also not advised for such patients. In such cases the patient may be advised vacuum pumps. MUSE (small capsule that may be inserted into the urethra) can help.

Impotence after prostate surgery?

Surgeries like radical prostatectomy are known to cause erectile dysfunction in over 50% of men. The condition does tend to improve after about 2 years of the operation in many cases. Oral tablet treatments are the most popular and are often supplemented with the use of vacuum devices.

High BP and ED medications?

A high BP patient is not automatically ruled out for oral medications like Viagra/sildenafil provided he takes precautions and medications to keep it under control (below 140/90).

Alcohol and ED?

Chronic alcoholism can definitely be a cause for erectile dysfunction. It is estimated that over 50% of chronic alcoholics suffer from some form of ED. Alcohol can degenerate the nervous system, liver, impact libido and cause ED apart from other complications. Testicle shrinkage is also known to occur among alcoholics. Sperm production and testosterone hormone production can also be affected.

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