Understanding Erectile Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Erectile Dysfunction 1

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough to participate in sexual intercourse. It can be occasional or frequent.

Symptoms of Erectile dysfunction are:

  • Unable to get an erection every time for sexual intimacy
  • Unable to maintain an erection long enough for sexual intimacy
  • Unable to get an erection at all


Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these. Also, stress and mental health problems can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction.

Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes Erectile dysfunction.  

Risk Factors:

Multiple risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction, those include:

  • Health conditions (diabetes or heart conditions)
  • Tobacco use (smoking) restricts blood flow that leads to erectile dysfunction
  • Being obese
  • Prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer
  • Injuries (damage to nerves or arteries that control erections)
  • Medications (antidepressants, antihistamines, and medications to treat high blood pressure)
  • Psychological conditions (stress, anxiety, or depression)
  • Drug and alcohol use


As Erectile dysfunction could result from any underlying condition, your doctor will first evaluate the cause to treat the condition effectively. 

Your medical history is reviewed first, and a thorough physical examination is performed. 

Your doctor will also ask some questions about your sexual life, and then your doctor will order the following laboratory tests:

  • Complete blood picture
  • Liver and kidney function test
  • Lipid profile
  • Thyroid function test
  • Urine analysis
  • Blood hormone studies
  • Ultrasound

Along with these tests, your doctor might recommend other tests if needed.


The treatment for Erectile dysfunction depends on the underlying condition; based on that; your doctor will prescribe a combination of treatments, including medications and talk therapy.

  • Medications: To help you deal with the symptoms of ED
  • Talk therapy: If the cause of your ED is psychological, then talk therapy would benefit you. This includes talking and discussing with your doctor fears, anxiety, etc., related to sex.
  • Vacuum pumps: This device helps the blood draw up into the penis to get and maintain the erection.
  • Surgery: when the above strategies are not working for you, surgery is recommended (implants and vascular surgery).

Exercises to deal with erectile dysfunction:

  • Kegels exercise: These are simple movements that strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
  • Aerobic exercise: Moderate to vigorous exercise (swimming or running) is good for your overall health. It also can increase blood flow dealing with ED.
  • Yoga: Helps manage the stress and anxiety that might cause Erectile dysfunction.


The below measures not only help you prevent Erectile dysfunction but also helps to improve your overall health:

  • Manage your health conditions (heart disease and diabetes)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage your weight 
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Reduce or manage stress
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Quit smoking if you smoke

Visiting your doctor regularly helps monitor health conditions, early identification and treatment of conditions that lead to Erectile dysfunction.