Erection problems are common. Erectile dysfunction is when the penis doesn’t get fully erect, despite sexual arousal. Sometimes there is no erection at all. Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, can have various causes. Fortunately, there are also solutions. You can read all about it on this page.
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- 2We'll guide you every step of the way
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What is erectile dysfunction?
In erectile dysfunction, the erection process is disrupted. Normally, an erection occurs in response to sexual arousal. Sexual stimuli cause the blood vessels in the penis to dilate, allowing more blood to flow to the penis. This blood fills the erectile tissues - spongy tissues in the penis. This causes the penis to straighten out and become hard. The pressure of the tissue on the vessels makes it difficult for blood to flow away. As a result, an erection lasts until an orgasm occurs and/or sexual arousal decreases.
In erectile dysfunction, this complex process is disrupted. The blood vessels do not dilate, or the accumulated blood flows out of the penis too early. The result: no erection, a less powerful erection or an erection that only lasts for a short time, despite the fact that there is enough sexual arousal. Erectile dysfunction is therefore not the same as a reduced sex drive.
Erectile dysfunction symptoms
Erectile dysfunction means that it is difficult or impossible to get an erection, despite the fact that you are sexually aroused. Erectile dysfunction symptoms include:
- The penis only becomes semi-rigid and/or the erection disappears too quickly. As a result, normal sexual acts, such as masturbating or having sex with a partner, are not always fully possible;
- There is no erection at all.
Do you sometimes suffer from erection problems? This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have erectile dysfunction. Erection problems can also occur due to other factors. For example after drinking too much alcohol or when tired. In those cases, erectile function usually recovers on its own. Doctors will usually only diagnose erectile problems if these symptoms recur regularly or are chronic.
Consequences of impotence
Erectile dysfunction can have a significant impact on your life. You may experience feelings of insecurity or shame. This can also negatively affect your relationship.
Many men think they are the only ones with erectile dysfunction. That is certainly not the case. Erectile dysfunction is common and it is estimated that at least 150 million men worldwide have difficulty getting an erection.
Erectile dysfunction causes
An erection problem can have both a physical and a psychological background. Below is a list of the most common causes:
Physical causes of erectile dysfunction
- Age: as a man gets older, their ability to get an erection decreases. This is a normal process;
- An unhealthy lifestyle: factors such as unhealthy eating, smoking and reduced physical activity make the veins less flexible. Insufficient blood then flows to the penis, causing a weak or failed erection;
- The use of certain medicines: some medicines can have a negative impact on the erection process;
- Certain conditions: diseases in which the nerves are damaged (eg diabetes) can disrupt the transmission of impulses between the brain and the penis;
- Hormonal imbalance: Sometimes impotence is the result of a deficiency of the male sex hormone testosterone. This hormone plays a major role in getting an erection.
Psychological/emotional causes of erectile dysfunction
- Fear of failure, insecurity, perfectionism or pressure to perform. When the pressure to perform in bed is high, the chance of disappointment is also much higher;
- Unresolved trauma or a major event, such as sexual abuse, divorce or the death of a loved one.
Erectile dysfunction may have a clear psychological/emotional cause or a purely physical one. But usually it is a combination of factors. Furthermore, in a small minority of patients, no cause is ever found for erection problems.
How can you prevent erection problems?
You can partiallly influence the occurrence of erection problems yourself. Of course, you cannot change your age, but you can change your lifestyle. By living a healthy life, exercising regularly and avoiding stress, you can keep erection problems at bay for longer.
Erectile dysfunction treatment
Erectile dysfunction doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to have sex properly again. There are many different solutions for erection problems that can help you improve your ability to get an erection by yourself. In addition to an adapted lifestyle, certain exercises or providing additional sexual stimulation can also help.
In addition, there are medicines and other solutions that can help with impotence. Erection agents can be prescribed by a doctor, during an online doctor’s consultation for example.
Medicines for Impotence
A doctor will always check whether the root cause of the impotence can be tackled first. If not, a doctor can prescribe erectile dysfunction drugs. These medicines temporarily improve erection ability. Erection treatments come in a variety of forms: oral pills, as well as drugs that are applied locally (directly to the penis).
Erectile dysfunction drugs
The active substances in erectile dysfunction drugs are called phosphodiesterase (PDE) type 5 inhibitors. These drugs allow the smooth muscle cells in the penis relax more easily. This allows more blood to flow to the penis and gives you a better erection that lasts long enough to have normal sex.
Known phosphodiesterase (PDE) type 5 inhibitors are:
- sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra);
- vardenafil (the active ingredient in Levitra);
- avenafil (the active ingredient in Spedra) and
- tadalafil (the active substance in Cialis).
In addition to erectile dysfunction drugs administered orally, there are other erectile dysfunction drugs that work locally. These drugs are applied directly to the penis which is why this is also called auto-injection therapy. The drugs work almost immediately; they cause an erection within a few minutes that subsides on its own after about an hour.
Alprostadil is a well-known auto-injection agent used for impotence. It is available as an injectable liquid (to be injected into the erectile tissue of the penis) and as a cream (to be inserted into the urethra).
Auto-injection therapy also works for erectile dysfunction caused by nerve damage.
Erection problems can therefore easily be solved by means of an adapted lifestyle or with the help of medicines or other aids. If you want to know more about the use of erectile dysfunction drugs or if you suffer from persistent erection problems, consult a doctor.
Prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction
Many drugs for erectile dysfunction require a prescription. You can request a suitable course of treatment at Dokteronline. Your application will be assessed by a doctor based on the medical questionnaire you have completed. A written prescription will then be forwarded to a pharmacy, after which the prescribed medication will be discreetly delivered to your home.
Would you like more information about the treatment available for erectile dysfunction? Feel free to consult a doctor or pharmacist.