November 01, 2016

Erectile dysfunction

Viagra and beyond

Erectile dysfunction

If you believe the advertising industry, erectile dysfunction can be easily solved by several drug options — which also result in a sunny, worry-free life and frequent, suggestive glances from your significant other.

These drugs are often effective and are commonly used. However, erectile dysfunction can be fairly complex and not easily vanquished by a pill. Male sexual function is the interplay of adequate blood flow and appropriate muscular function of the penis — the target of most erectile dysfunction drugs — and of nerves, hormone levels, psychology and emotion. Moreover, erection problems can be a sign of other health issues such as heart disease.

If you have erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor. Diagnosing and treating problems that may be contributing to it yield benefits not only for your sexual health, but also for your overall health.

Finding a cause

An erection occurs when the nervous system activates increased blood flow and relaxed muscles in the penis. The combination of relaxed penile muscles and increased blood flow causes the penis to straighten and stiffen. When the penis is working correctly, the blood will stay trapped in the penis for as long as the erection lasts. This is a process that best occurs in the presence of normal hormone levels. In addition, psychology and emotions play a critical role, since stress, anxiety, depression and relationship difficulties can all impact your ability to have an erection.

Occasional erection trouble is common and isn't necessarily a cause for concern, particularly if...