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Myths and facts about erectile dysfunction

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A subject like erectile dysfunction is bound to be surrounded with as much legend as fact when it comes to causes and treatments. Check out these six common myths about ED and the facts to dispel the rumors.


Erectile Dysfunction and Age

Myth: ED is just a normal part of growing older and men just have to learn to live with it.

Fact: Although ED is more common among older men, that doesn’t make it “normal” — or something you just have to live with. It’s not unusual for older men to need more stimulation to help get them aroused than they did when they were younger. But there’s no reason you should have to accept a lack of sexual function as one of the inevitable consequences of getting older. Many men are able to get erections and enjoy sex well into their senior years, and there’s very likely no reason that you can’t be one of them.

Myth: Erectile dysfunction doesn’t hit younger men. It’s only a problem for older guys.

Fact: Although erectile dysfunction is more common in men over 75, men of any age can develop erectile problems.
Erectile Dysfunction and Overall Health

Myth: ED may be upsetting, but there’s nothing dangerous about it.

Fact: Although the ED itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, ED is often one of the earliest warning signs of other underlying health conditions that can be quite serious. One of the most common underlying health conditions is diabetes.

Erection problems can also be a symptom of heart problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure) oratherosclerosis, as well as hormone imbalances and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

That’s why it is essential to see your doctor if you have erectile dysfunction.

Not only can a thorough medical examination help you identify the cause of the problem and find a treatment that can return you to a more active sex life, it may also alert you to a bigger health condition that needs immediate treatment.

So if you are experiencing erectile problems, it is important to see a qualified physician immediately for a complete physical examinationand testing. You can find an urologist in your area by contacting the American Urological Association.

Myth: If you have trouble getting an erection, it’s because you’re not attracted to your partner.

Fact: There are many reasons why a man might experience erection problems. Although lack of sexual attraction to one’s partner might be one of them, it’s actually far more likely to be something else.

ED can be caused by:

• Heart problems, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis
• Diabetes — between 35% and 50% of men with diabetes experience ED
• A variety of prescription drugs, including medications for blood pressure, anxiety, and depression
• Neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
• Hormonal imbalances
• Mood or emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression
• Lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol
• Certain types of prostate and bladder surgery

Treating Erectile Dysfunction

Myth: If I have erectile dysfunction, I’ll have to take pills for the rest of my life.

Fact: There are many options for treating erectile dysfunction. The FDA-approved medications specifically for ED treatment are effective for many men. These include medications taken by mouth, injected directly into the penis, or inserted into the urethra.

Because erectile dysfunction can also be the result of an underlying health condition like atherosclerosis or high blood pressure, treating the condition may help alleviate your erection problems, too. If a prescription medication causes ED as a side effect, ask your doctor if you can be switched to another medication. Don’t stop taking any medication before talking to your doctor. If pills don’t work out for you, keep in mind that prescription medicines aren’t your only option.

You may also be able to make a few lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking,losing weight, or decreasing your alcohol intake can significantly improve your sexual potency and help your erection problems.

Psychotherapy has also been effective for many men who experience anxiety-related erectile dysfunction associated with sexual performance. You can find a trained counselor with experience in this area of treatment.
Mechanical vacuum devices and surgical treatments may also be helpful for men with erection problems.

Myth: I can treat ED myself without seeing a doctor by using herbal remedies and supplements for erectile dysfunction.

Fact: You run several risks when trying to take supplements for ED. The exact contents of many of the supplements marketed for ED are not known, and it’s possible they could contain dangerous compounds or ingredients that might interact with other medications you may be taking.

In addition, many online sites will not advise you about the potential risks and side effects of taking the remedies they sell. And, of course, taking supplements without talking to your doctor means you aren’t being examined for conditions like diabetes and heart disease that may contribute to ED.

Your best option for successfully and treating ED is to consult with your doctor, who may refer you to a physician who specializes in the care of erectile dysfunction.