Erectile Dysfunction – The Cause, Treatments and Common Misconceptions

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  • October 8, 2018
Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction is the inability to acquire or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. It is estimated that approximately 50% of all men between 30 to 70 years of age are currently living with some form of erectile dysfunction.

In some cases, the penis becomes partly erect but not hard enough for sex. While in many cases, there is no erection at all. Although a harmless disorder, Erectile Dysfunction can have a significant impact on quality of life.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction is most common during times of stress. At times, emotional or relationship concerns can also be a reason. This should be addressed by an expert before it becomes serious. You can be seen by a qualified and experienced medical expert with

Frequent erectile dysfunction can be a sign of health problems. However, before starting the treatment, proper assessment and investigation will be required. It is also important to consider the physical and other psychosocial conditions of a person. Erectile Dysfunction cannot be the reason of all sexual problems in males. Premature ejaculation, delay or absent ejaculation, and lack of interest in sex are other types of dysfunctions.

When a person becomes sexually aroused, their brain sends signals down to the blood vessels within their penis. This allows the arteries to relax and let blood flow into it. Once a sufficient amount of blood has entered, the veins will then suddenly shut and trap the blood in your penis. This is how the penis manages to expand and harden. Once you stop having sex, the blood flow to the penis comes back to normal. Gradually, the penis returns to its non-erect state.

Anything that interferes with this natural process can lead to Erectile Dysfunction. There are several main causes which can be divided into two groups: physical and psychological.

Physical causes:

  • Circulatory problems such the narrowing of blood vessels, high cholesterol, etc.
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Damage from cancer or surgery
  • Drug/alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Cycling – long distance and continuous
  • Hormonal problems
  • Any disease that affects the circulatory system, your hormonal levels or nervous system
  • Side effects of antidepressants, sleeping pills or types of drugs used to treat high blood pressure
  • Injuries which cause nerve damage from the brain to penis

Psychological causes:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship difficulties

Psychological factors have been known to arise as a secondary reaction to the original bouts of ED. It is not uncommon for someone to experience both physical and psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.

If you observe any of these symptoms related to Erectile Dysfunction or looking for some expert advice, book a consultation with a qualified and expert GP with alldayDr. We hold patient confidentiality very highly at alldayDr and all records, consultations and treatments orders are discrete and completely private.

Types of treatment

Erectile Dysfunction treatment completely depends on its causes. Including medication, you may also need some therapies or undergo lifestyle changes.

Oral Medication

The most common and popular treatment of Erectile Dysfunction is oral medicines, referred to as phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. They work by blocking the PDE-5 enzyme which in turn creates an increased level of blood flow. This medicine is prescribed to be taken just before sex.

The following medications stimulate the blood flow to help treat erectile dysfunction:

  • Viagra (Sildenafil)
  • Levitra (Vardenafil)
  • Cialis (Tadalafil)
  • Spedra (Avanafil)
  • Caverject (Alprostadil)
  • Testosterone (Androderm)

Note: None of these tablets will work unless you are sexually aroused.


A cream may be applied to the tip of the penis and the surrounding area. The application is 5 to 30 minutes before having sex. 


Before the availability of tablets, injection was the most common treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. A medicine (Alprostadil Injection) is injected into the base of the penis. It increases the blood flow and within 15 minutes, an erection occurs. This works very well.

 Note: The injection works and erects the penis, even if you are not sexually aroused.

Urethral Medication

The Urethral medication (Alprostadil) is ready to use. It has plastic applicator which is filled with the medicine. Insert the applicator 1.25 inches into the opening of the penis. Push out a pellet from the applicator into a canal where urine travels. The medicine is quickly absorbed into the penis which causes an erection within 10-15 minutes.

Note: This medicine is not very effective as a very small percentage of the dose penetrates the penis; rest is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Vacuum Devices

Different devices are available. The basic idea is to put your penis into a plastic container. A pump sucks out the air from the container, creating a vacuum. This causes blood to flow into the penis, resulting in an erection. A rubber band is placed at the other end of the penis to keep the blood into the penis. This will keep the penis erect. Remove the plastic container and for about 30 minutes the penis remains erect until the rubber band is removed.

Penile Prosthesis

A rod is inserted into the penis with medical help. The basic type of rod has to be straightened by hand. The other is an expensive type which works with an inbuilt pump which causes an erection.

Lifestyle Changes

There are many physical concerns related to Erectile Dysfunction; Obesity, lack of physical activities, smoking, consumption of alcohol, are a few to start with. Hence, some lifestyle changes would be recommended by experts. For some heart diseases, or blood cholesterol levels, your doctor can surely prescribe some medicines.

The positive changes will definitely work with the ED medications delivering good results.


As we know, besides physical concerns, there can be many psychological factors leading to Erectile Dysfunction. At times, couple counselling, sex therapies, and meditations work wonders here.


Questions and Answers:

Is Erectile Dysfunction normal?

Yes, Erectile Dysfunction is a very common condition. However, it is not related to age.

Is impotence the same thing as Erectile Dysfunction?

Yes, Erectile Dysfunction and Impotence mean the same.

Is Erectile Dysfunction a natural part of the aging process?

No, Erectile Dysfunction has no connection whatsoever with the aging process. Although it is true that older men may require more stimulation than normal to achieve an erection, they should still be able to naturally gain an erection and engage in intercourse.

What are the symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?

The main symptom is the inability to cause or maintain an erection that is required for sexual intercourse. In some cases, the penis becomes partly erect but not hard enough to have sex. While in many cases, there is no erection at all. Other symptoms are noted as loss of interest in sex and sex performance anxiety.

Can Erectile Dysfunction be prevented?

Yes. You can give yourself the best possible chance of preventing Erectile Dysfunction by maintaining a healthy lifestyle such as: getting to or maintaining a desired weight; eating a balanced diet, keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure in check, undergoing regular exercise, quitting smoking and drinking. Basically, anything that negatively affects and puts pressure on your heart will also negatively affect your erectile functionality.

Are drugs like Viagra really that effective?

Yes. Tablet medications like Viagra and other PDE-5 inhibitors have proved very effective towards tackling Erectile Dysfunction and are the most popular form treatment. Viagra (50mg or 100mg) has a success rate of around 80%. Other medicines which work in the same way as Viagra are Cialis, Levitra, and Spedra.

What if the tablets do not work?

Consult with your doctor. He will have other suitable options based on your conditions. Follow our link to an online consultation with a private and discrete GP:

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