What Is Erectile Dysfunction

What Is Erectile Dysfunction

Less than 20 years ago almost nobody was talking about it. There was no such thing as erectile dysfunction experts (ED experts).

If you had it you kept it a secret.

You suffered in silence.


Not many doctors believed it was a real medical condition. There were no experts in this field.

Then the blue-pill was released and suddenly the world was talking.


Erectile dysfunction.


Doctors were forced to acknowledge that it was, in fact, a medical condition.

But what exactly is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

What do the erectile dysfunction experts define it as?

To put it simply erectile dysfunction or ED is when you have difficulty achieving and/or maintaining an erection.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the expert’s definition of erectile dysfunction (ED).

Erectile Dysfunction: Expert Definition, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Sexual dysfunction disorders are on the rise across the globe. But what really counts as erectile dysfunction and how can you overcome it?

There are several clinical sexual disorders in men and women. Chief among these sexual arousal disorders in men is erectile dysfunction1. Erectile dysfunction experts describe a man’s inability to get an erection. Furthermore, he might be able to get erect but not long enough to engage in satisfactory intercourse.

The condition affects a sizable portion of the population.

In this article, we examine erectile dysfunction as defined by the experts in the male reproductive sciences field. Read on to find out just what exactly erectile dysfunction is, what ED experts think of it, its symptoms, what causes it and what you can do about it.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

As we hinted earlier, erectile dysfunction is generally the inability of a man to get an erection and maintain it till a sexual act is complete.

According to Erectile Dysfunction experts, the occasional inability to get it up does not mean that you have erectile dysfunction. This could be because you have had too much to drink or you are really tired.

As per a report by the International Consultation Committee for Sexual Medicine on Definitions/Epidemiology/Risk Factors for Sexual Dysfunction, the Erectile Dysfunction experts interviewed conclude; it is normal to fail to achieve an erection once in a while1.

However, if this inability to get and maintain an erection persists for at least 3 months, then you may suffer from erectile dysfunction or ED as it is known in short.

The Thai Erectile Dysfunction Epidemiological Study Group followed a 4-way grading of ED when trying to determine the prevalence of the disorder among men in Thailand3.

According to their study, erectile dysfunction can be graded as follows:

  • Grade A: men who can achieve and maintain a normal erection throughout intercourse every single time
  • Grade B: men who can more often than not achieve and maintain an erection throughout intercourse
  • Grade C: men who can sometimes achieve and maintain an erection throughout intercourse
  • Grade D: men who cannot achieve and maintain an erection at all

In simpler terms, if your doctor or erectile dysfunction expert diagnoses you as Grade A, you are normal. Grades B through D are termed as mild, moderate and severe erectile dysfunction respectively.

What are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?

When it comes to the symptoms, they must occur regularly for a period of more than 3 to 6 months for it to be classified as erectile dysfunction.

The symptoms to look out for include:

  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • A hard time maintaining an erection during sexual intercourse
  • A markedly reduced desire to partake in sexual activity

When these symptoms are persistent, you are likely to have erectile dysfunction. It is, therefore, advisable to get in touch with a physician, more specifically a doctor that’s an ED expert so that they can diagnose the condition.

What are the Causes of Erectile Dysfunction?

With a condition that affects a vital facet of human masculinity, it is important to know where it springs from.

Erectile dysfunction experts claim the causes of erectile dysfunction can be either organic or psychogenic.

Organic Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

The organic causes of ED include:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • High blood pressure
  • Arterial insufficiency
  • Hypogonadism – a condition where the testes don’t secrete enough hormones
  • Penile fracture, when the tissue of your penis breaks
  • Drugs like antidepressants, antihypertensive, heroin and marijuana
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Disorders of the thyroid gland
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure

Psychogenic Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

These are the causes of erectile dysfunction that are mental or psychological.

These include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social pressures
  • Problems in the relationship with your partner
  • Mental health problems

Although the causes of ED can be either psychogenic or organic, it doesn’t mean that the two categories are mutually exclusive. Sometimes, the sexually debilitating condition can be brought about by a combination of organic and psychogenic factors4.

For example, age is one of the risk factors of ED. As a man grows older, he is more likely to lead a sedentary lifestyle and develop physical and mental health problems. All these are indicated as causative factors when it comes to erectile dysfunction.

In the graph below, both moderate and severe erectile dysfunction increase with an increase in age.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Erectile Dysfunction?

If you’re having persistent problems with getting and maintaining an erection, you need to visit a doctor or erectile dysfunction experts so that they can give you a check-up.

During this check-up, the erectile dysfunction experts will put you through a series of first-line evaluation tests. These tests determine whether or not you have erectile dysfunction or not. If anything in this first-line evaluation is particularly off, you will then be subjected to second-line evaluation tests5.

First-Line Evaluation for ED

The first thing doctors do when checking for erectile dysfunction is to get a detailed history.

The first-line evaluation also entails blood tests to gauge the amount of low testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin. In some uncommon cases, doctors or ED experts can also check for amounts of prolactin and thyroid hormones.

Other routine blood tests that are conducted either by your GP or erectile dysfunction experts include checking for cholesterol and glucose levels.

If the results from these first-line evaluation tests are abnormal, the doctor proceeds to carry out second-line tests.

Second-Line Evaluation for ED

This phase of the evaluation comprises more biochemical tests, scans as well as psychological examination.

Through these tests, the ED experts look for a more definitive presence of diabetes as well as other hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. During this stage, doctors also do more cardiovascular examination.

They may also carry out ultrasound scans of the genital area to view any possible internal structural causes of erectile dysfunction.

At the same time, there is a psychological examination to determine any psychogenic factors that are preventing you from achieving and maintaining an erection.

How is Erectile Dysfunction Treated by ED Experts?

Erectile dysfunction is treated based on what caused it in the first place.

If the erectile dysfunction experts deem the ED is psychogenic, the treatment is psychotherapy. If needed, this can be supplemented by other non-surgical interventions like medication.

Treatment of organic ED is done through a change in lifestyle as well as both surgical and non-surgical interventions.

The treatment, therefore, involves:

  • A change in lifestyle like eating healthy and engaging in exercise, quitting smoking and alcohol
  • Medication
  • Use of vacuum erection devices
  • Intraurethral suppositories
  • Intracavernosal injection
  • Surgery where doctors implant a penile prosthesis into the corpus cavernosum

Depending on the severity of your erectile dysfunction, your doctor will recommend a course of action that is suitable for you. Sometimes, they recommend combination therapies so that you can get the best results.

If you feel as though erectile dysfunction may be getting the better of you, do not feel defeated. The doctors at Men’s Health Clinic are well versed with the latest treatment methods.


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