Urology Blog

Could One of These Factors be Contributing to Your ED?

man suffering from insomnia sitting on his bedIt is not unheard of for a man to have occasional difficulty with his erections. Anytime an erection doesn’t occur or doesn’t sustain can be stressful. If the problem occurs over and over again, a man may struggle with an immense amount of confusion, frustration, or even shame. The challenge in addressing erectile dysfunction is that many different factors could be contributing to the problem. For this reason, the best approach to understanding what is happening is to consult with a urologist. Urologists are specialists who have advanced training that focuses on issues such as male and female fertility issues and conditions like erectile dysfunction.

Here, we discuss some of the lesser-known factors that could contribute to poor erections. 

  • Anxiety. This factor is somewhat of a catch-22. Studies indicate that men who suffer from anxiety or depression also have a higher likelihood of experiencing ED. In order to get and maintain an erection, the nervous system must be on board. If overactivated or depressed, the nervous system doesn’t work as well to stimulate the erection. What is interesting about anxiety and depression is that these conditions may also be a byproduct of the ED. It is upon the doctor, patient and, as relevant, his partner to work together to mitigate the anxiety associated with erectile problems.
  • Poor oral health. Studies into the risks of chronic periodontitis, known as gum disease, reveal that men with this oral condition have higher rates of erectile dysfunction. Periodontitis is an inflammatory condition that alters the body’s natural production of nitric acid as well as blood flow. The decrease in both can affect the strength and onset of an erection.
  • Diabetes. Studies indicate that up to 75% of men with diabetes at some point experience erectile dysfunction. Chronically elevated blood sugar can indirectly affect erections by causing nerve and blood vessel damage.
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and salt. We group these three together because the first two are often caused by adding salt to food too often. High blood pressure and cholesterol can restrict circulation, including to the penis, resulting in erectile dysfunction.

The team at UT Urology in Chattanooga provides personalized services to patients facing all kinds of urologic conditions. For assistance understanding and treating erectile dysfunction, contact us at (423) 778-5910.

Erectile Dysfunction: So Many Myths to Address

Erectile Dysfunction is a topic that most men wish to avoid. However, this is an important conversation to be had between partners, between men and their doctors, and in the media. When we do not address issues like erectile dysfunction straight-on, we leave room for misconceptions. Even today, common myths about erectile dysfunction keep many men from obtaining the care they need and deserve. Here, we discuss what those are.

  1. Erectile dysfunction happens to older men.

Erectile dysfunction that is related to low testosterone may more often affect older men, this is true. However, low testosterone is only one potential cause of erectile dysfunction. Studies indicate that men aged 40 and older are more likely to develop problems maintaining an erection but that a growing number of younger men also encounter erectile dysfunction.

  1. Erectile dysfunction is a physical condition only.

Men may experience erectile dysfunction for any number of reasons. Physical factors are just one of several influences. In younger men especially, erectile dysfunction is more often linked to emotional stress and psychological challenges such as depression and anxiety. Certain medications may also cause erectile dysfunction. A thorough health history and examination can get to the heart of the matter and  help a man identify the ways in which his intimate health can improve.

  1. Erectile dysfunction is not dangerous.

While many cases of erectile dysfunction relate to hormones or psychological stress, there is a chance that an underlying health condition may be the root problem. Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or high cholesterol. This is an important reason to have a thorough health examination and consultation with a family physician.

  1. There is no way to get rid of erectile dysfunction.

Several treatment options for erectile dysfunction have been developed in recent years. The first step in managing or correcting this issue is to identify causative factors. If erectile dysfunction relates to stress or emotional health, therapy or appropriate medications may be helpful. If hormones are responsible, therapies to restore balance may be recommended. There are also treatments that can address structural factors affecting the penis.

Schedule a consultation with your Chattanooga urologist to discuss erectile dysfunction. Call UT Urology at (423) 778-5910.

Turn to Your Doctor for Help with Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Chattanooga, TNExperts have estimated that approximately 30 million American men experience the symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED). This is no small matter. By affecting a man’s ability to obtain and maintain an erection, erectile dysfunction can substantially degrade a man’s sense of well-being. Many men who are living with ED struggle with feelings of embarrassment and helplessness. This doesn’t have to be the case. Help can be found in the doctor’s office.

How Erectile Dysfunction is Diagnosed

Diagnosing erectile dysfunction involves more than a physical examination. Several factors may trigger or worsen this problem, including certain medications, smoking, alcohol consumption, and the use of recreational drugs. These are important topics of discussion between a man and his doctor. Complete honesty is necessary to uncover the nature of erectile dysfunction and to develop an appropriate course of action.

In addition to asking about general health and lifestyle, doctors ask patients questions such as:

  • Does a morning erection occur?
  • Are there also difficulties with sex drive, orgasm, or ejaculation?
  • Are there any urinary problems, such as difficulty starting or stopping flow?
  • Do erections change in different situations, such as masturbation vs. sexual intercourse?
  • How firm are erections when they do occur?
  • Whether or not stressful situations are occurring at the moment.
  • If treatment for depression is ongoing, or if depressed feelings exist.
  • If any changes have occurred with sex or with relationship status.

ED: What Goes Wrong

The process of obtaining an erection seems simple. However, there are a lot of cogs in this wheel. An erection occurs when nerves within the brain release chemicals that affect blood flow to the penis. There are several opportunities for breakdown to influence this process. In some cases, it is impaired nerve impulses in the brain. Sometimes, inadequate blood flow is the issue. In approximately one-quarter of cases, medication is to blame for erectile dysfunction. Because erectile dysfunction largely affects older men, we also recognize that hormones play a role in this condition.

Erectile dysfunction can have a dramatic effect on a man’s relationship and his life, but help is available. Men who are experiencing the symptoms of erectile dysfunction may speak with their general healthcare provider and also to an experienced urologist. To reach UT Urology for a consultation, call (423) 778-5910.

“Herbal Viagra.” Just Don’t.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Chattanooga, TNSexual health is directly tied to performance. This is true for men and women. When a man’s performance takes a hit, he may become willing to do or take just about anything to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Due to the ease of use and convenient availability, men may lean toward Viagra alternatives that are sold online. Many of the products that are sold without a prescription include claims such as “all natural” or “herbal.” Before you put a Viagra alternative into your body, you need to know the truth.

Herbal Viagra Explained

Herbal Viagra is a catchphrase that is used by numerous manufacturers to promote plant-based products intended to increase a man’s sexual function. Some formulations contain compounds or herbs; some contain minerals and vitamins, some contain a host of ingredients that create synergy to mimic ED drugs. In some cases, the actual active ingredient used in Viagra is contained in non-regulated formulas.

How Viagra Works

Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors increase penile function by dilating or enlarging, the blood vessels that transport blood into the penis upon arousal. The increase in blood flow is not reserved only for this area of the body, though. This is why a headache is a common side effect of ED medications. But that’s not all.

Taking Viagra or even a non-prescription alternative made with plant compounds is dangerous!

PDE5 inhibitors are prescribed only after a comprehensive health history and physical are conducted. Men who take certain medications, such as drugs to treat an enlarged prostate or high blood pressure, cannot safely take ED drugs. This could include non-prescription formulas.

The second issue with self-treating erectile dysfunction is that taking an herbal formula prevents a man from obtaining crucial medical care. Erectile dysfunction is a symptom. It tells us that something is not working right in the body. That “something” could be low testosterone. It could also be a heart condition or metabolic syndrome; conditions that require appropriate medical therapy.

The Bottom Line

There are too many variables to erectile dysfunction and a man’s health and wellness to not consult with a urologist about sexual health issues. To schedule your consultation with an experienced team, call our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-8765.

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