What is Erectile Dysfunction  (ED)

What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

What Is Erectile dysfunction (ED)


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a prevalent medical condition that leads to an ability to get or maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. in an inability to get or maintain a penile erection for the duration of sexual intercourse.

According to the American Journal of Medicine, ED affects more than 18 million Americans, which translates to approximately 18.4% of the male population.

Unfortunately, there are several causes that precipitate ED, which makes it difficult to diagnose and treat patients.

In this article, we will briefly discuss the causes, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options of ED.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

As mentioned earlier, numerous conditions can lead to ED, including vascular problems, neurological abnormalities, and psychological stress.

Depending on the underlying condition, your physician will assess the situation to see which treatment is the best option for you.

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction

While most people associate ED with difficulty getting an erection, patients could also experience additional signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Reduced libido (i.e., sex drive)
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Anorgasmia (i.e., inability to reach an orgasm despite stimulation)

If you experience these symptoms for more than 3 months, it is best to contact your doctor in order to eliminate any underlying medical conditions that are causing your ED.

Diagnosis of erectile dysfunction

To diagnose ED, your doctor will take a multistep process that starts with taking a full medical history about concurrent medical conditions, pharmacological drugs, and more.

Once this step is completed, he/she will perform a thorough physical examination to check your cardiovascular system and blood pressure, as well as the testicles and penis.

Your doctor may also perform a digital rectal exam to palpate the prostate for any abnormal growths.

As your doctor goes through these steps, he/she will eliminate other diagnoses that may be triggering your ED, such as cardiovascular disease, chronic blood hypertension, and psychological ED.

In the vast majority of cases, ED is the result of psychological problems that interfere with the patient’s ability to get an erection. A common way to distinguish this condition from organic ED is by asking the patient whether he gets nocturnal penile tumescence (i.e., the morning wood).

Treatment of erectile dysfunction

The most commonly used drugs to treat ED are:

  • Viagra (Sildenafil)
  • Cialis (Tadalafil)

The main differences between these two drugs include the onset and duration of action, side effect profile, and popularity.

By far, Viagra has a wide fanbase because it’s been around since 1998, where it has become synonymous with ED. However, and despite Cialis’s relatively newer release (2003), it has several advantages, including:

  • Faster onset of action – 30-60 minutes
  • Longer duration of action – up to 36 hours
  • Fewer side effects

Nevertheless, some men do not think that Cialis is the best fit for them, so they stick with Viagra.

Takeaway message

ED is a complex medical condition that needs careful attention from the treating physician. Hopefully, you found this article informative and helpful.