Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not exactly something you casually discuss with friends and neighbors. But this problem, which causes an inability for men to achieve or maintain an erection, is not something you should ignore, and it’s more common than you probably think.
About 5% of men who are age 40 have complete erectile dysfunction, and that increases to about 15% at age 70. And mild-to-moderate ED affects nearly 10% of men per decade of life, so that by age 70, close to 70% of men suffer some dysfunction.
Our skilled physicians at Comprehensive Urology in the Beverly Grove region of Los Angeles, California, understand that ED is a sensitive topic, but we welcome discussion with our patients, and have answers and treatments at the ready. We also know that there are a lot of myths floating around dealing with the subject, and we want to set the record straight. Here are a number of the common myths, and the facts you should know.
Myth #1: ED is part of growing old — get used to it
FACT: As we’ve seen, the older you are, the more likely you are to have some form of erectile dysfunction. In addition, older men are more likely to have underlying health conditions that require medication whose side effects can contribute to an inability to get and sustain an erection.
Neither of these, though, means you just have to sit back and accept the situation. There are treatments available, ranging from pills to sound wave therapy to regenerative medicine, that can help your performance in the bedroom. That’s why it’s important to talk with your doctor about it.
Myth #2: It’s all in your head
FACT: If men are no longer attracted to their partners, or if they’re having relationship problems, ED can be a natural result. There’s no question that relationship problems contribute to a man’s libido, or desire for sex, but most cases of ED are physiological and can be treated medically.
On the other hand, if ED is left untreated, it can either cause or further contribute to relationship difficulties, leading to more dysfunction.
Myth #3: Difficulty achieving an erection always means ED
FACT: Despite popular belief, men aren’t always “raring to go,” just like women aren’t. Fatigue, anxiety, personal problems, hormones, and any number of other things can all contribute to lack of desire. Clinging to the idea that men are always ready for sex just increases the feeling of pressure to perform, and that in itself can contribute to an inability to achieve and maintain an erection.
Myth #4: ED isn’t dangerous — it’s just a personal issue
FACT: ED in and of itself is not a dangerous condition, but a consistent inability to achieve an erection can signal an underlying medical condition that could be harmful if not treated.
Achieving an erection is a complex process that involves coordination between the brain, hormones, nerves, muscles, and blood circulation. If something gets in the way of this process, the end result may be ED.
Cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, share the same risk factors as ED, so going to see your doctor for treatment may help solve more than just one problem.
Myth #5: I can treat ED myself with herbal supplements
FACT: There is absolutely no scientific data to back up the claim that using herbal supplements can effectively treat ED. In addition: the FDA does not regulate herbal supplements, so you’re never certain of what’s actually in the bottle; supplements can interfere with the effectiveness of traditional medications; they can be dangerous if you have other medical conditions; and they may cause unwanted side effects. Always speak with your doctor before taking herbal supplements.
Myth #6: All I need is a pill
FACT: Oral medications such as Viagra® or Cialis® can be extremely effective at resolving ED, but they should not be the first line of treatment or the only one. Most doctors support making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and quitting smoking, as well as identifying and treating any underlying physical problems, before trying oral medications. And oral medications don’t work for everyone.
Also, oral medications only address certain underlying causes of ED; they may be ineffective at helping other conditions, including low testosterone, Peyronie’s disease, or injury.
Here at Comprehensive Urology, we also offer PulseWave therapy, GainesWave therapy, regenerative medicine [both platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and stem cell therapy], and even intracorporeal injections that stimulate blood flow to the penis, and inflatable penile prostheses and implants as alternative treatments.
Are you having difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection? Want to learn more about the facts surrounding the problem and the treatments available to help? Give us a call at 424-260-0856, or request your appointment online today.