Let’s kick off this conversation with a fact about erectile dysfunction (ED) — it’s more common than you might think. While erectile dysfunction isn’t exactly a conversation-opener, 52% of men in the United States experience ED at some point in their lives. While some may experience only temporary problems, others struggle with ongoing issues that have a severe impact on their lives.
Here at our practice, urologist Dr. Mark Kelly specializes in erectile dysfunction, providing men in the Santa Monica, California, area with effective solutions. And there are solutions.
To get started, let’s take a look at some of the myths and facts surrounding ED — and what we can do about it.
It’s a matter of time
Many men believe that ED is part and parcel of growing older. This statement holds some truth, but not across the board. As we mentioned, ED has a prevalence rate of 52%, but let’s take a closer look at these numbers. Only 40% of men in their 40s report problems with ED while 70% of men in their 70s struggle with the condition.
So, the fact is that age places you at a higher risk of developing ED, but it certainly isn’t a foregone conclusion. Many men enjoy active sex lives in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond.
I’m too young for ED
Now let’s flip to the other side of the age equation. ED can, and does, affect men of all ages. In fact, one study showed that 26% of men under the age of 40 experience ED, and half of these men had severe problems with the condition.
ED is only a physical problem
The technical definition of ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough to have intercourse. While this definition may seem simple enough, the processes that go into an erection are anything but simple. There are many things that can affect an erection, including your:
- Physical health
- Emotional health
- Neurological health
- Vascular health
- Mental health
- Hormonal health
While many cases of ED arise due to problems with circulation to the penis, the fact is that your emotional or mental health can play just as large a role. In fact, these areas may cross over as ED becomes a vicious cycle that causes great anxiety, which only exacerbates the problem.
As an example, you may start off with minor problems that stem from a physical issue, such as poor circulation or a recent health event. But your “failure to perform” can lead to great anxiety, which then takes over and interferes even further.
A pill is all I need
Medications such as Viagra® or Cialis® have been extremely effective at resolving ED for many of our patients, and they remain one of our primary treatment options. But these medications only address certain underlying causes of ED and may not be able to help with other issues, like low testosterone, Peyronie’s disease, or injury.
Before we treat our patients, we spend a considerable amount of time assessing the problem to identify the underlying cause. If we find that lifestyle habits, such as smoking or excessive drinking, are to blame, we recommend curbing these activities. If we uncover a circulatory problem then, yes, medications are very effective.
In some cases, you may benefit from surgery in which we implant a device that gives you an erection on demand.
The bottom line is that our goal is to treat the root of the problem for long-term success.
If you’d like to put an end to your struggle with erectile dysfunction, please give us a call at 310-819-9003 or use our online scheduling tool to request an appointment.