Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Erectile Disfunction
Did you know that nearly 40% of men will experience some
problem with erections, libido or ejaculation by the age of 40?

What is ED?

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to attain and or maintain an erection adequate for sexual intercourse.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction can be multi-factorial.  Examples of physical causes include vascular disease, metabolic syndrome, prostate cancer surgery, low testosterone levels and alcohol and/or tobacco use.  Psychological performance anxiety can also contribute to ED.

Who is affected by erectile dysfunction? How are men affected by Erectile Dysfunction? Is the problem getting better or worse?

Nearly 50 percent of men ranging in age from 40 to 70 years of age are affected by ED. Men report guilt, shame and frustrations related to inability to perform. Due to repeated failed attempts, performance anxiety may present with subsequent attempts.

What is a little known fact(s) about erectile dysfunction that the public should be aware of?

The presence of the condition is a precursor to the nation’s leading cause of death in men, cardiovascular disease.  Since ED usually presents 3-5 years prior to cardiovascular disease, recognizing risk factors is crucial in addressing potential heart disease in men with ED.

What are the different types of treatments for erectile dysfunction? What can be expected during a physician’s visit to discuss ED and treatments of ED?

A thorough history and physical will be performed in addition to laboratory testing. Non-invasive vascular scans may be necessary to assess cardiovascular risk. Erectile dysfunction can be treated with oral medications, self injections  or transurethral medications. Vacuum pumps, tension rings or implantable prostheses are other options available. Treatment involves addressing the cause of an individual’s ED. Referrals to other disciplines including psychological services, physical therapy or weight loss management may be included in the plan of care.

Are there any new treatments available for erectile dysfunction?

Stem cell therapy is one of the newer treatments for ED, however the therapies remain experimental. The hopes would be to rebuild blood vessels and regenerate nitric oxide receptors and nerves. Additionally, lifestyle studies related to ED continue to emerge, emphasizing the importance of diet, exercise, and quality sleep.

How effective are the treatments for erectile dysfunction?

Efficacy of therapy can vary from person to person. Results are greatest when patients are committed to lifestyle changes in conjunction with pharmacological therapies. Oral therapies may be effective in up to 70% of individuals. Efficacy may also improve when the couple is involved in treatment.

Is the Men’s Health Center at The Miriam Hospital unique in the treatment and services it offers for erectile dysfunction?

The Men’s Health Center incorporates a thorough cardio-metabolic workup in conjunction with the treatments offered for hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory disorders, diminished libido, prostate cancer and Peyronie’s Disease. The center is staffed by internists specializing in andrology, urologists, and a psychologist specializing in sexual dysfunction.

Are support groups available for erectile dysfunction?

Support groups are available for prostate cancer survivors who are affected by ED. Forums include questions about oral and injectable meds, urinary incontinence and coping after a diagnosis. Some groups meet face to face while others are entirely online.  Online forums may be more appropriate for some individuals given the nature of the conversations.

 The Men’s Health Center serves to treat conditions specific to the male population, and is located at The Miriam Hospital, 164 Summit Ave, Providence, RI 02906. Contact us to learn more.