Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a frustrating condition that interferes with your ability to bring a sexual act to a satisfying conclusion. Although most men have episodes of ED periodically throughout their lives, these tend to increase with age; more than 50% of men aged 40-70 have regular ED. However, ED is not inevitable, and aging isn’t the only cause.
Alex Lesani, MD, an expert urologist, diagnoses and treats ED at his Las Vegas office. Before starting treatment, it’s important to know which factors contribute to your ED by getting a thorough examination and diagnosis. Following are some reasons why you have ED.
Stress, trauma, and emotions
If you were ever abused — whether the abuse was sexual or not — the anger and sadness you feel either consciously or subconsciously may affect your ability to trust your partner or perform sexually. Even living under stress, such as the stress of lockdown and loss of income, can trigger ED.
Dr. Lesani may recommend lifestyle changes, such as engaging in more physical activity as well as taking time to de-stress daily through meditation or breath work if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression. He may also refer you to a counselor so you can begin to heal and learn new coping strategies for stressful situations.
An erection occurs when chemical signals in your brain trigger increased blood flow to your penis, and the veins in the shaft enlarge and engorge. If your blood vessels aren’t healthy, though, they can’t accept the extra blood, and your erection either never takes place or flags too soon.
A variety of conditions can damage your blood vessels and prevent you from achieving and maintaining an erection. During your examination, Dr. Lesani checks for potentially vessel-damaging conditions, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
Dr. Lesani may recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medications to resolve or control your underlying condition.
Like blood vessels, healthy nerves are essential to a long-lasting, satisfying erection. If you had surgery in the pelvic area, you may have nerve damage or scarring that’s inhibiting your ability to hold an erection. Diabetes, atherosclerosis, and other medical conditions can also damage your nerves.
The levels of the androgen (i.e., “male” hormone) testosterone decrease with age. Low testosterone contributes to a range of unpleasant symptoms, including ED.
If your testosterone levels are low and you’re obese, the first changes Dr. Lesani encourages you to make are losing weight and gaining muscle mass. Fatty tissue produces the hormone estrogen, and throws off your estrogen/testosterone balance. Muscle tissue helps your body produce more testosterone.
Getting into shape and eating a healthy diet can normalize your testosterone level, and also improve your health overall, including the health of your blood vessels. Once you reach a stable weight, eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, and you’ll have more energy, too.
Treatments for ED
After Dr. Lesani identifies the factors that contribute to your ED, he custom-designs a treatment plan. He usually begins by recommending you adopt lifestyle changes to improve your overall health, such as:
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol
- Limiting animal fat and protein
- Exercising consistently
- Doing resistance training
- Eating more fresh foods
- Cutting out processed foods
If these modifications don’t resolve your ED, Dr. Lesani may recommend medications that help you achieve an erection. In more severe cases, he may recommend penile injections or vacuum devices. Rarely, you may require a surgically implanted inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP).
To set up an ED evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment, call our helpful Las Vegas, Nevada office staff at 702-470-2579. You can also book online.