For such a seemingly simple process, there’s an awful lot that goes into achieving and maintaining an erection that includes your physical, mental, and emotional health. If you’re among the millions of men who struggle with erectile dysfunction (ED), understanding this complex event is paramount.
At Arizona Urology, our team’s focus is on patient education. We feel that the more you know about your medical issue, the better armed you are to make the right choices. And this is certainly true when it comes to ED.
Here, we explore the many reasons why you may have trouble keeping an erection and how we can go about remedying the problem. Rest assured, there are solutions.
Getting and maintaining an erection
As we mentioned, an erection may seem simple enough, but it can be anything but simple as it involves a number of different areas of your health. To give you an idea, let’s look at what happens when you get an erection.
The beginnings of an erection occur when your sensory nerves are stimulated and send messages to your brain. Your brain then responds to the messaging and signals the muscles in your penis to relax so blood can flow in. Once the blood flows in, it stays trapped so long as the muscles are relaxed. After you ejaculate, the muscles in your penis tense again, which forces the blood out and prevents more from coming in.
As you can see, any disruption along this chain can create issues with getting or keeping an erection.
The common causes of ED
The most common drivers of ED are physical in nature and typically include:
- Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
- Cardiovascular disease like high blood pressure and heart disease
- Diabetes, which affects both your nerve and blood vessel health
- Hormone imbalances, such as low testosterone
- Peyronie's disease
- Neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
- Prostate issues
Age can also play a role as the muscles in your penis can weaken with time and your vascular health can decline.
Beyond these common physical problems, emotional and mental health issues can also play significant roles. For example, problems with depression and anxiety often lead to temporary problems with ED. Even high levels of stress can interfere with your ability to get or maintain an erection and, unfortunately, stress is at an all-time high these days.
To best treat your ED, we analyze the problem so we can get you on the road to better sexual health.
If we find that poor blood flow to your penis is interfering with your ability to maintain an erection, we devise a plan to improve your circulation through medications, lifestyle changes, and better management of pre-existing conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
If hormonal issues are having an effect on your erections, we can turn to hormone replacement therapy to regulate your levels of testosterone.
If your outside risk factors are hard to mitigate, we offer effective options for maintaining an active sex life, including:
- Oral medications
- Penile implants
- Penile injections
- Vacuum devices
- Intraurethral pellets
If your problems stem from mental or emotional health issues, we guide you toward therapies that can regulate your moods and reduce your stress and anxiety.
The bottom line is that there are solutions for your ED and we’re here to help. To get started, contact one of our locations in Goodyear, Glendale, Gilbert, or Phoenix, Arizona, to set up an appointment.