Men who have ED (erectile dysfunction) or impotence have a problem getting or keeping an erection that's firm enough for sexual intercourse. All men have diEculties with erections from time to time. In some men it is infrequent or mild. In others it is a consistent, more severe problem. It can lead low self-esteem, performance anxiety, depression, stress and may aEect the quality of a marriage or intimate relationship.
If you know or suspect you have ED, you are not alone. Studies show that about one half of American men over age 50 (or 30 million men in that age group) have some degree of ED. In seeking help for ED, it is also important to remember that an erection problem aDects both partners in a relationship.
You've probably heard about or seen the ads for the oral medications that are used to treat impotence. For most men, those pills are respected the first line of therapy. They are eEective and, unlike some of the traditional methods, convenient and easy to use. The oral medications are not the only answers, however. Based on your condition, your doctor might provide you with a number of additional choices. Like the decision to treat impotence, selecting the kind of treatment to use is a personal decision that depends on the preferences of you and your partner.
Before or while beginning treatment, your doctor may be able to significantly improve ED by treating an underlying cause.
Changing certain habits, such as stopping drug abuse, may fix or eliminate impotence. Psychological problems, such as relationship conflicts, depression or performance anxiety, can also be successfully treated in many cases.
If ED is a side eflect of a medication you are taking, your doctor may be able to help you work around the problem by adjusting the dose of your medication or switching you to a diEerent drug. However, don't stop taking your medicine or change your dosage without consulting your doctor first.
If a blood test shows that your testosterone level is too low, the doctor may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy, particularly if you're suffering diminished libido in addition to impotence. This treatment can be applied in several ways, including: through regular injections, a patch that is worn on the skin or a gel applied to the skin.
Untilrecently, a man who had trouble getting an erection was likely to suDer in silence. He may have thought of the problem as an unavoidable element of the aging process or a personal failure. He may have been too abashed to discuss the problem with his doctor, or just have thought that there was no well answer, so the situation went untreated.
Some developments have changed that situation. Today we have not only a good understanding of male sexual health, but also a broader range of treatment options to help a man achieve and keep satisfying erections. And media attention on several of the treatment options has made it easier for a man to take the first step in resolving impotence: discussing it with his partner and doctor.