A satisfying sexual experience is essential for a relationship to sustain for long. While everything may seem normal to you, certain symptoms can act as a warning sign to help prevent you from a bigger problem coming your way. Due to the stigma lying around in society, neither men nor women feel comfortable talking about problems related to sexual health. However, if you have been experiencing changes in your sexual performance or facing trouble keeping up an erection, it’s time to see a doctor. Sexual dysfunction such as Erectile Dysfunction (ED) can be devastating both for the man and his partner. While a single bad sexual session doesn’t decide whether you’re suffering from ED or not, it becomes essential to keep an eye on the penile problems that you may have been ignoring all this while.
These early signs of Erectile Dysfunction can help figure out what’s wrong with your body and prevent your relationship from going down the drain.
1. You Find it Difficult to Achieve or Maintain an Erection
The most common symptom of ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. While you’re sexually stimulated, you may find it difficult to get a hard-on and may not enjoy having sex with your partner. Furthermore, even if you’re able to get an erection, you may face difficulty in maintaining it. While ED is largely thought to occur due to physical reasons, it can have psychological reasons too. Some common causes include stress, emotional well-being, hormonal changes, medications, etc.
Approximately 30 million men in the US suffer from ED. As men age, this problem becomes more prevalent. So, if you’re wondering that it’s something that’s only happening to you at the moment, you should know that there’s a large population that suffers from it too.
2. You Don’t Experience Nocturnal Erections and Morning Wood Anymore
When it comes to getting aroused – your brain, hormones, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles play an important role. While nocturnal erections and morning wood don’t have anything to do with arousal, they indicate that your blood vessels are functioning properly and that the blood flow to the penis is normal. However, if you notice that you haven’t been experiencing morning wood lately, it could mean that you’re suffering from ED.
The blood vessels in the penis are much smaller than the ones in the heart. Therefore, if your arteries are weak and unhealthy, chances are that you might suffer from ED.
3. Your Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels are High
Did you get your vitals checked already? Well, if your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are high, your blood vessels can get damaged and lose their elasticity. Thus, the blood vessels cannot contract and dilate properly which makes it difficult for you to get hard.
If your high total cholesterol is 240 mg/dL or higher, and blood pressure is 130/80 mm Hg or above, your blood vessels might be in danger.
4. You are Not in the Mood for Sex
Well, if you are wondering that you don’t feel the urge to have sex or haven’t been in the mood lately, you should get your testosterone levels checked. The male sex hormone testosterone is responsible for sexual drive. Low T or low testosterone levels can affect your sexual drive and you may not get aroused easily. As a result, your chances of getting erect become negligible.
5. You are Taking Medications that are Making it Difficult for You to Get Hard
Certain antidepressants such as SSRIs (Selective Reuptake Inhibitors) and Blood Pressure medications can make things hard for you. SSRIs can make it difficult for norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter responsible for arousal, to reach the brain, thereby affecting your sexual drive and making it difficult for you to get an erection.
On the other hand, blood pressure medications can affect the rate of blood flow to the arteries of the penis, thus, causing trouble for your erections.
6. You are Dealing with Stress and Anxiety
As mentioned earlier, ED can have psychological causes too. If you are suffering from mental health conditions like stress and anxiety, it could affect the way your brain signals the penis to allow extra blood flow.
Stress and anxiety can occur due to various reasons. Personal and professional stress, such as relationship issues, loss of a loved one, and work-related stress can contribute to ED.
Moreover, stress and anxiety can also impart negative effects on your cardiovascular health and lead to various cardiovascular diseases.
7. Your Gums Aren’t Healthy
Sounds weird, right? Well, if your gums aren’t healthy – they are swollen and bleed easily, they could cause inflammation throughout your body, thereby damaging your blood vessels. As a result, your blood vessels won’t be able to function properly making it difficult for blood flow to the penis.
8. You Have Coronary Heart Disease or Diabetes
There’s a very strong connection between heart disease, diabetes, and Erectile Dysfunction. Diabetes that results in poorly controlled blood sugar levels can damage your blood vessels and nerves. Thus, causing damage to the nerves that control sexual stimulation and reduced blood flow can contribute to ED.
A study from the Boston University Medical Center reports that 50% of the men who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes develop ED within 5-10 years of getting diagnosed. And if a person suffers from heart disease as well, the chances of suffering from ED increase significantly.
What Can be Done?
“Prevention is better than cure.”
The moment you notice something unusual with your erections, you should speak with your doctor. While it isn’t always possible to prevent erectile dysfunction, there are certain things you can do to take care of yourself.
- Pay attention to emotional well-being. Manage stress by indulging in deep breathing exercises and meditation.
- Make exercise a part of your daily routine.
- Get a routine health check-up done regularly.
Your doctor can help come up with the best treatment plan for you. Talk to him regarding various treatment options available that can be beneficial for your overall health.
- Lifestyle Changes
If you are an alcoholic or smoke regularly, you should consider putting an end to it. While it isn’t possible to eliminate them instantly, you should consider limiting your daily alcohol intake and join therapy clubs wherein you can talk about your problems with others. Indulge in healthy eating and exercise regularly to stay in shape.
- Prescription Medications
Your doctor may prescribe certain oral medications as a starting form of treatment for ED. These include:
- Viagra – Viagra contains an ingredient known as Sildenafil Citrate that increases the blood flow to the penis. It comes in various doses such as 50 mg, 100 mg, etc. If your condition is severe, your doctor may prescribe you a strong dose of the medicine such as Viagra 200 mg that will help to ease out the symptoms of ED. The effects of this medicine last for 4-5 hours.
- Cialis – Cialis, also known as the Weekend Pill is an oral drug that contains the ingredient Tadalafil. The effects of this medicine are known to last for a whopping 36 hours. Cialis comes in doses such as 5 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, and 60 mg. While Cialis 20 mg is often prescribed to patients with ED, highest dose of the drug Cialis 60 mg is prescribed to patients who don’t get any significant results from the lower dose of the medicine.
- Levitra – Levitra contains the ingredient Vardenafil that works in a similar manner as Viagra and Cialis. The effects of this medicine last for a period of 5 hours. It comes in various doses – 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, and 60 mg. The highest dosage of the medicine i.e. Levitra 60 mg tablet is given to patients with severe ED.
Make sure you discuss all potential interactions of the drug with your doctor before taking any of these medications.
- Penis Pumps
Penis pumps are devices that help to achieve or maintain an erection by drawing blood into the penis via air suction. While it’s not a cure for ED, it can certainly help to increase your ability to have sexual intercourse.
If you notice any early signs of erectile dysfunction, you should discuss your symptoms with the doctor. Your doctor can best address the problem and figure out the root cause of ED. There are various options available for the treatment of ED. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry as your erections will definitely get back to normal.