Do you struggle to get an erection when you want to have sex? Maybe you achieve an erection, but it’s not strong enough or it doesn’t last long enough.
If these scenarios sound familiar, you could be living with erectile dysfunction. Also called ED, it’s a common condition that affects some 30 million men in the United States.
Erectile dysfunction makes it difficult or impossible to get an erection that’s firm enough for sex. It becomes increasingly common with age, but it’s complex and has many possible causes.
Finding an effective treatment for ED starts with understanding the reasons behind the symptoms. At Gulf Coast Urology in Houston and Nassau Bay, Texas, John Bertini, MD, FACS and James Harris, MD, specialize in treating ED in men of all ages, and they can help you feel like yourself again.
Your overall health affects your sexual health. Erectile dysfunction can develop if blood flow to your penis is restricted, but in many cases, it’s linked to other chronic health issues.
You could be at risk for developing ED if you have one of these common conditions:
Testosterone is a hormone that influences male sexual performance. It naturally declines as you get age, but if it drops too low, it may result in ED.
Along with ED, low testosterone can cause low sex drive, weight gain, and fatigue. Low testosterone is a treatable condition, and addressing it could reduce your ED symptoms.
Diabetes is a metabolic condition that develops when there’s too much sugar in your blood. People with diabetes are more likely to suffer circulatory and nerve damage, which may impact sexual health.
Diabetes and ED are two separate conditions, but nerve damage can affect your ability to get aroused. Men with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to develop ED than men who don’t have it.
Heart disease is the top cause of death for men in the United States. Heart disease is a term used for several heart conditions, but they all impact your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body.
When you get an erection, blood flow to your penis increases. However, if you have heart disease, your body may not be able to pump enough blood to your penis to sustain an erection. So if you have ED, you may also have heart disease.
About 47% of American men have high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can damage the walls of your blood vessels and cause atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries.
Blood travels from your heart through your arteries. But if your arteries harden, the blood won’t flow as it should. Narrow or blocked arteries can affect blood flow to your penis and result in ED symptoms.
Some lifestyle habits can increase your risk of developing ED. Smoking, tobacco use, and drug use can all impact your overall health and sexual health. Excessive alcohol use can also cause ED.
Having one or more of these common conditions doesn’t mean getting ED is inevitable, but it does increase your risk of developing ED. It’s important to get regular physical exams to stay on top of your health and prevent complications.
Learning to recognize the symptoms of ED can also help you determine when your health might be at risk. Many men experience problems getting or keeping an erection from time to time, but if it’s a consistent issue, make an appointment with Gulf Coast Urology.
Some common signs of ED include:
If these symptoms sound familiar, Dr. Bertini and Dr. Harris can help. They may recommend lifestyle changes, oral or injectable medications, hormone therapy, or other options. Furthermore, treating coexisting conditions may lead to reduced ED symptoms.
You can enjoy your sex life again with help from Gulf Coast Urology. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.