A man can be considered to have erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence when he has difficulty with either getting an erection or with keeping an erection for long enough to allow satisfactory sexual intercourse. The term impotence may also be used to describe other problems associated with men’s sexual health, such as decreased libido and problems with ejaculation or orgasm.

ED is one of the most common sexual health problems and affects around more than 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70. It has the tendency of becoming more common and severe with age and can bring about adverse impact on men’s health. And to compound the problem only a fraction of ED affected men feels free to seek help.

Causes:

ED is caused by a wide range of physical and psychological factors. Generally, ED is resulted due to damage to nerves, arteries, smooth muscles, and fibrous tissues. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, other vascular conditions, cigarette smoking, and excessive alcohol intake, restricts sufficient blood-flow into the vessels of the penis, thus causing ED.

Health experts believe that men with ED may experience psychological problems such as, low self-esteem, sexual failure anxiety, depression, and stress, guilt, and relationship conflicts.

Moreover, several common medications such as, blood pressure drugs, antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers and appetite suppressants may bring ED as a side effect.

Treatment:

Men with ED should know that ED is not just a part of the normal process of aging rather it is a medical condition. In around 95% of the ED cases, a suitable treatment can be found. There are medicines and treatment options available in the market to help those men who are suffering from ED.

Viagra or sildenafil, a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDTE) inhibitors, is the first oral medical treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that can prompt and enhance erections in men. Now, other PDTE inhibitor class of drugs is also being used. The two newer drugs tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra) work in a similar way to Viagra.

Viagra works by relaxing the smooth muscle of the blood vessels thus increasing blood flow in the penis in response to sexual stimulation. It does this by specifically blocking the enzyme PDTE. The beneficial effect can last as late as 8 hours. Most of the effectiveness is within the first 4 hours. But, Viagra is helpful in promoting erection only in response to foreplay or sexual stimulation and it also does not stimulate sexual desire.

Side-effects:

Viagra should not be used by heart patients who are taking nitrate medications and should be used with care by patients who get angina on exercise. Generally, Viagra may cause headaches, flushing, indigestion, runny nose and mild vision disorder. Moreover, several deaths have recently been reported in patients taking Viagra, so caution should be used in prescribing Viagra.

Today, the Internet has greatly influenced the access to some medicines. So now, men suffering from ED can buy Viagra online, though at a slightly higher cost than through drugstores.

Apart from oral therapy, other treatment options for ED patients are also available that includes sex counseling or sex therapy, penile injection, intraurethral therapy, vacuum therapy and penile implant surgery.

However, one should note that before adopting any medication or other treatment options for ED, some simple lifestyle changes may improve ED. Here are few tips that may help in changing your lifestyle:

• Exercising

• Dieting

• Quitting smoking

• Reducing alcohol consumption

• Managing stress and fatigue.