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Everything You Need to Know About Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

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Everything You Need to Know About Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

5 min read


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of men to get an erection for sexual intercourse, and it is sometimes called impotence.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At April 8, 2019
Reviewed AtDecember 4, 2023

What Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a male cannot maintain his penis erection for sexual intercourse, and it is sometimes called impotence. Infrequent erectile dysfunction is not a condition to be concerned about because almost all men would have experienced it sometimes in their life due to stress. Frequent erectile dysfunction can be due to any health problems that need treatment. It can likewise indicate emotional or relationship difficulties that should be managed by an expert. Not all sexual dysfunctions are caused by erectile dysfunction.

The other types of male sexual dysfunction include premature ejaculation, delayed or absent ejaculation, and lack of interest in sex.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

There are various causes of erectile problems, including emotional and physical disorders. Some common reasons are:

  • Cardiovascular disease.

  • Diabetes.

  • Hypertension.

  • Hyperlipidemia.

  • Damage from cancer or surgery.

  • Injuries.

  • Obesity or being overweight.

  • Increased age.

  • Stress.

  • Anxiety.

  • Relationship problems.

  • Drug use.

  • Alcohol use.

  • Smoking.

Psychological factors are a typical cause of ED. They include:

What Causes an Erection?

An erection is the result of excess blood flow into the penis. Blood flow is generally stimulated by sexual thoughts or through direct contact with the penis. Sexual excitation in a man can cause the muscles of the penis to relax. This relaxation allows more blood to flow through the penile arteries. This blood fills two chambers inside the penis called the corpora cavernosa. As the chambers load up with blood, the penis becomes inflexible. An erection might close when the muscles contract and the accumulated blood flows through the penile veins. Erectile dysfunction can happen because of problems at any stage of the erection process. For example, the penile arteries might be too damaged to open legitimately and allow blood inside the penis.

What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?

An individual may have erectile dysfunction if they feel:

  • Trouble getting an erection.

  • Difficulty maintaining an erection during sexual activities.

  • Reduced libido.

If an individual has any of the above symptoms can talk to the doctor, particularly if they have lasted for at least two months. The doctor will identify the cause of the sexual issue and treat it appropriately.

The following conditions are the other sexual disorders related to erectile dysfunction:

  • Premature ejaculation (when the semen ejaculates sooner during sex).

  • Delayed ejaculation (when an individual takes a long time to reach sexual climax).

  • Anorgasmia is an inability to accomplish climax after adequate stimulation.

How Does Age Affect the Occurrence of Erectile Dysfunction?

Approximately 30 million Indian men have erectile dysfunction. Among which:

  • 12 % of men are younger than 60 years.

  • 22 % of men are in their 60s.

  • 30 % of men are 70 years or older.

Although the danger of erectile dysfunction increases with age. The healthier an individual is the better the sexual function. Erectile dysfunction can happen among young men. A 2016 study found that one out of four men looking for their first treatment for erectile dysfunction was less than 40 years. The researchers found a stronger connection between smoking and illegal drug use and erectile dysfunction in men under 40 years than among more established men.

How Is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?

The doctor may perform some tests to determine if a fundamental condition causes the symptoms. The doctor will check the blood pressure, listen to the heart and lungs, examine the patient's testicles and penis, and prescribe a rectal examination to check the prostate. Additionally, the patient may require blood or urine tests to diagnose other conditions.

  • Nocturnal Penile Tumescence (NPT) Test - An NPT test is done using a portable and battery-fuelled gadget that the patient wears on their thigh while sleeping. The gadget evaluates the quality of nocturnal erections and stores the data, which the doctor can later access. The doctor can use this data to understand the penis function and ED better. Nocturnal erections will be erections that happen while the patient is sleeping, and they are a typical part of a healthy functioning penis.

  • Ultrasound - The doctor may prescribe an ultrasound of the penis to check the blood flow to the penis.

What Are the Treatments Available for Erectile Dysfunction?

Treatment for erectile dysfunction will usually depend on the cause. The combination of treatments, including medication, lifestyle changes, and therapy can help with the condition.


The doctor may recommend medication to help deal with the symptoms. The patient may need to try a few medicines before discovering one that works. These medications can have side effects. If the patient is encountering unpleasant side effects, talk to the doctor. They might probably prescribe a different medication. The following medications will stimulate blood flow to the penis to help treat ED:

  • Avanafil.

  • Tadalafil.

  • Alprostadil.

  • Sildenafil.

  • Vardenafil.

  • Testosterone.

Natural Remedies and Herbs:

For certain men, natural remedies may help. An individual should talk to a doctor before trying supplements or herbs. It would help if an individual were cautious while purchasing supplements and herbs, as many are not regulated, implying they may contain additional ingredients not listed on the marks.

The following herbs and supplements have shown promising results in the treatment of ED:

  • L-arginine.

  • DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone).

  • Ginseng.

  • Yohimbe.

  • Asparagus racemosus.

Talk Therapy:

ED caused by psychological conditions can be treated through talk therapy. This therapy can enable an individual to deal with their mental health. An individual will likely work with the therapist for more than a few sessions. The therapist will address significant stress or anxiety factors, emotions around sex, or subliminal conflicts that can affect sexual prosperity.

If ED affects the relationship, an individual can also consider talking with a relationship advocate. Relationship advising can help an individual to reconnect emotionally with a partner, supporting ED.

Alternative Treatments:

If ED is caused by stress, then yoga and massage may help discover these activities unwinding.

Prostatic Massage:

A few men use a type of massage therapy called prostatic back rub. Practitioners know the tissues in and around the crotch to promote blood flow to the penis.


Acupuncture can treat psychological ED, though studies are limited and uncertain. An individual will likely need a few appointments before they start to notice any improvements.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises:

A study with 55 men saw an improvement in penile function after three months of ordinary pelvic floor muscle exercises, and after six months, 40 % of men had recaptured typical erectile function.

Kegel Exercises:

These are essential exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The process of kegel exercises is as follows:

  1. Identify the pelvic floor muscles. To do this, stop urinating midstream. The muscles used for this are the pelvic floor muscles. The testicles will likewise rise when an individual contracts these muscles.

  2. Contract these muscles for 5 to 20 seconds. Then relax them.

  3. Repeat this exercise 10 to 20 times consecutively, three to four times every day.

Lifestyle Changes and Diet:

Healthy lifestyle habits can help to prevent ED and, in certain situations, turn around the condition:

  • Exercise normally.

  • Maintain low blood pressure.

  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes.

  • Reduce stress.


Erectile dysfunction is a typical condition, and it has numerous conceivable causes. Please talk about the symptoms with the doctor early, so they can diagnose the cause and start the treatment. The healthcare provider may diagnose the condition through physical examination and diagnostic tests. Regular exercise and maintenance of lifestyle changes can help an individual deal with the condition.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Does Erectile Dysfunction Usually Occur?

The physical causes of erectile dysfunction,
- High blood pressure.
- Diabetes.
- Obesity.
- Depression.
- Stress.
- Anxiety.
- Heart conditions.
- Tobacco’s use.
- Peyronie’s disease


How Is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?

Erectile dysfunction is a treatable condition, and it is treated based on its cause. The treatment usually involves counseling, lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery. For many men, oral medications are a successful erectile dysfunction treatment.


Is There a Fast Way to Cure ED?

The fastest ways to cure ED are:
- Oral medication such as Viagra may increase the blood flow to the penis.
- Regular exercises.
- Eating healthy foods.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
- Getting enough sleep.


Is It Still Possible to Come With ED?

It is still possible to have an orgasm with ED. Studies show that 99 percent of men with erectile dysfunction are able to ejaculate during sexual intercourse or stimulation. Even when a person struggles to maintain an erection, they can still have a satisfying sexual relationship. In such cases, the doctor may occasionally recommend drugs or other treatments.


What Is the Best Way to Make Love With an ED?

Communication plays a key role. Get relaxed before any sexual activity and discover what works best. These include kissing, caressing, oral stimulation, and genital play, which are necessary for both partners to have pleasurable sex.


What Is the Feeling of a Man With ED?

An average of 70 percent of men feel embarrassed about ED by letting their partners down, and 40 percent of their partners report they are not initiating sex. Frustration, inadequate feelings, emasculation, and shame are all possible outcomes of ED.


What Is the Duration of an Erection for an Average Man?

The duration of erection for an average man lasts from a few minutes (5.4 minutes) to half an hour. If it lasts more than four hours,  consider talking to your doctor for emergency medical care.


What Causes Spontaneous ED?

Sudden ED may be due to
- Increased alcohol intake.
- Antipsychotic medications.
- Metabolic disorders.
-Heart diseases.


Are There Any Self-Treatment Options for ED?

- Eating a healthy diet.
- Exercises such as kegel and pelvic exercises improve the blood flow to the penis.
- Relaxation exercises such as yoga and meditation for managing stress.


Does ED Ever Become Permanent?

Erectile dysfunction is temporary, and it is not a life-threatening condition. However, the complete curing of ED is based on the underlying cause. It is important to evaluate ED as it may be an indication of any potential health problems.


How Can Erectile Dysfunction Be Treated With Exercise?

Kegel exercises are considered the first line of treatment for erectile dysfunction, which involves lying on the floor with back squeezes, lying on the floor with side squeezes and sitting in a chair with squeezes.


What Causes Erection in the Morning?

Morning wood or erections are a part of the regular physiological process during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It is very common, and it is due to an active parasympathetic nervous system, even during sleep.
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Dr. Jena Pratap Chandra
Dr. Jena Pratap Chandra

Family Physician


erectile dysfunction
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