Authored by Revere Health

A Discussion About Erectile Dysfunction: Some Frequently Asked Questions

May 25, 2016 | Urology

A Discussion about Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection long enough to engage in sex. People used to use the word, “impotence”, but most healthcare professionals use the term, “erectile dysfunction”.

Here’s a look at some of the most common questions that are asked about erectile dysfunction:


1) Is erectile dysfunction common?


Erectile dysfunction affects about 30 million men in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


2) What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

You may have erectile dysfunction (ED) if you:


Can get an erection sometimes but not every time
Are unable to get an erection at any time
Can get an erection but it does not last long enough for sexual intercourse


3) What causes ED?


Physical, psychological and emotional issues can cause erectile dysfunction. Physical causes include damage to structures in the penis, including nerve, arteries, muscles and other tissues. Some medical disorders can cause physical damage leading to ED. These conditions include:


High blood pressure
Atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque on the inside of your arteries
Heart and blood vessel disease
Chronic kidney disease
Multiple sclerosis
Tissue damage from treatments for prostate cancer, especially radiation and prostate surgery
Injury to the penis, bladder, prostate, spinal cord or pelvis
Surgery for bladder cancer
Peyronie’s disease, a disorder that causes scar tissue to build up in the penis


Some medications can cause ED. Certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, using illegal drugs, excessive alcohol use, being overweight and not exercising enough, can lead to erectile dysfunction. Mayo Clinic says that prolonged bicycling can lead to temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction.


Erectile dysfunction affects about 30 million men in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.


While ED is a physical disorder, psychological and emotional issues can contribute to erectile dysfunction. The most likely emotional and psychological issues associated with ED include:


Fear of sexual failure
Low self-esteem


4) I never heard of ED until just a few years ago. Is it new?


Erectile dysfunction has been around since the beginning of humankind. People did not talk about ED, at least not publicly, until American politician Bob Dole appeared in an informative but somber 1999 ad for Viagra. Today, advertisements for Viagra, and competitors Levitra and Cialis, bring widespread awareness to the condition.


5) Is there a common age that ED occurs?


The likelihood that you will experience ED increases as you age but the aging process itself does not cause erectile dysfunction. Approximately 12 percent of men under the age of 60 have ED, 22 percent of men age 60 to 69, and about 30 percent of males 70 and older.


6) Can I still have sex if I have ED?


Yes! Sexual intercourse is still possible with ED, especially with treatment.


7) Are there any remedies for ED or is it a permanent condition?


Erectile dysfunction is no longer a permanent condition – there are many remedies to help you achieve and maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. Your doctor can help you determine the best treatment for your ED.


8) How will my doctor treat erectile dysfunction?


Your doctor will start by treating the underlying cause of your ED. This may include suggesting lifestyle changes, changes in your prescription drug regimen to treat another illness or counseling. Your physician may even suggest you use a vacuum erection device known as a penile pump as a non-invasive way to achieve an erection. Prescription oral drugs and injections are very common treatments. Surgery to implant ED devices or reconstruct arteries in the penis can address ED that does not respond to conservative measures.


9) What will my doctor prescribe for ED?


Depending on your individual needs, your doctor may prescribe medications you can take by mouth, inject into your penis or insert into the urethra at the tip of your penis.


Oral medications include:
Sildenafil (brand name Viagra)
Vardenafil (brand names Levitra, Staxyn)
Tadalafil (brand name Cialis)
Avanafil (brand name Stendra)


Approximately 12 percent of men under the age of 60 have ED, 22 percent of men age 60 to 69, and about 30 percent of males 70 and older.


These drugs work by relaxing smooth muscles and increasing blood flow to your penis during sexual stimulation. If you have low levels of testosterone, your doctor may prescribe supplements of this hormone to increase your libido.


For more information about erectile dysfunction, start a discussion with your urologist at Revere Health. We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of ED and other urological problems.


Revere Health Urology specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of urologic cancers, BPH, incontinence, and other pediatric and adult urinary problems.


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.