Erectile Dysfunction: Risks, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

December 02, 2018

Erectile dysfunction - risk factors, symptoms, treatment and prevention. Learn how to take care of yourself if you suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Erectile Dysfunction is every man's nightmare. While many have been there, few ever seek treatment. Typically a man with erectile dysfunction, or impotence as it is commonly called, has trouble getting or holding up a penile erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse, even when he is stimulated. Occasional difficulties with erection arent uncommon but when it turns out to be regular, it needs to beexamined. If not treated appropriately, impotence can go further downhill over time and evolve from mild to complete. Looking at the bigger picture, it can also serve as an indicator of an underlying health condition. While it is all too common, many men tend to brush it off even though it causes significant emotional stress. This is because a lot of them tend to feel embarrassed or ashamed. It can break-down relationships and eat away at confidence. Men can go as far as avoiding contact with their better half as they try to evade sex altogether.

Risk factors

There are many triggers of erectile dysfunction, both mental and physical.


Symptoms of erectile dysfunction include

  • Inability or trouble getting an erection
  • Inability to maintain erection beyond brief periods of time
  • Reduced sexual urge


Doctors typically conduct a physical exam and take a detailed history to look for signs such as abnormalities in the genital area, nerve trouble or poor circulation in order to diagnose Erectile Dysfunction. A few tests would be advised to check for some of the causes of Erectile Dysfunction. These include:


The best way to prevent Erectile Dysfunction is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Give up smoking. If you are grappling with it, seek help. Medications like nicotine gums, Varenicline, Bupropion can help you get off the habit.
  • Drink alcohol wisely
  • Get off the couch and exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes a week. Moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity can improve erectile dysfunction more than you can imagine. Discuss an exercise plan with your doctor. Involving your partner will help in keeping you motivated.
  • Get your blood pressure and blood sugar levels checked periodically
  • See your doctor for regular screening of lifestyle disorders.
  • Take steps to prevent stress and anxiety in life. If your mind is too occupied, chances are you wont be in the mood.

Lifestyle Modification

In addition to the lifestyle changes mentioned above, the following can help prevent and manage erectile dysfunction. They help with improving blood flow and thereby enhancing sexual function.

  • Lose excessive weight. Try to attain and maintain a BMI of < 25 kg/m2
  • If you have relationship issues, engage in problem-solving. You can also seek help from an emotional counselor.
  • Get your partner involved. Treatment for erectile dysfunction can have higher success rates if you are able to trust her and have her emotionally support you. Its best to honest about your condition.

Be cautious if you use Alternate Medicine. They may do more harm to the body than you can imagine. Their dosage is usually unknown and may contain substances that can potentially damage the kidneys and liver.


Your doctor would first look for any chronic conditions that may cause erectile dysfunction. Treatment of Diabetes, dyslipidaemia, high blood pressure or any other condition causing erectile dysfunction is the key to manage erectile dysfunction.

Oral medications that are advised include:

  • Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors like Sildenafil, Tadalafil. Before taking these medications inform your doctor if you are on any blood pressure medications and nitrates. Mixing these medications can be dangerous.
  • Testosterone replacement in case erectile dysfunction is due to low testosterone

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Other options that are available include Penile pumps and Penile implants.


Other complications include

  • Unsatisfactory sex life
  • Depression
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Relationship issues with partner
  • Inability to get the partner pregnant


Article by Dr. Naveen Nadipelli, MBBS, DPM (Psychiatry),
Consultant Psychiatrist, CallHealth

Have a Question? Consult Dr. Naveen Online.

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