Erectile Dysfunction
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Erectile Dysfunction,

Approximately 30 million American men suffer from Erectile Dysfunction (ED). ED is defined as an inability to reach or maintain an erect penis adequate for sexual function.

In order to have effective penile function an intact vascular system is needed. The vascular system carries and controls blood flow to and from the penis. The arteries carry the blood into the penis and the veins carry blood away. If there is inadequate blood flow then erectile tissue can become damaged.

Inadequate blood flow and the resulting damage to the erectile tissue can be caused by aging, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, and cardiovascular disease. These risks can cause blood to leak through the veins during an erection whereas in healthy males the penile veins are closed during an erection.

Lifestyle choices can also lead to damaged erectile tissue and the development of ED. Blood vessels in the penis can be affected by prolonged smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, a lack of exercise, and stress. Changes to these lifestyle choices will contribute to a better overall health and may help with mild ED. ED can also be present when treating other medical conditions using certain drugs, surgery or radiation.

Uncomplicated ED is treated by taking an oral medication known as phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE-5) before beginning sexual activity. These medications will boost the signals that are generated during sexual activity which will prolong an erection. Additional treatments are available for those who do not have success with an oral medication, these include, a vacuum erection device (plastic tube placed over the penis with a pump that creates low-pressure around the erectile tissue), an injection that is placed into the side of the penis or placing a small dissolvable medication into the urethra (a tube which carries urine from the bladder and carries semen during ejaculation).

When taking medication for ED some men may notice a minimal change while others may return to normal erectile function. There are limitations and challenges with the current treatments as they only work during sexual activity and do not treat the underlying cause of the condition. Current treatments do not allow the ability to initiate sexual activity over a large window of time, do not allow for spontaneous sexual activity, and they may also have unfavourable side effects or be ineffective for some men. As such new treatments are being developed that concentrate on the current limitations and challenges.

 

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AU

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US

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