Causes and treatment for ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)

MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK - PART VI

List of causes for erectile dysfunction with a man troubled by it

Erectile dysfunction or ED is possibly one of the least spoken about ailments in India. Some basic analysis shows that in India alone, the term "Erectile dysfunction" gets searched for anywhere between 3,000-30,000 times every day on Google. But how many times have you heard about it? Are these people only searching for research and actually do not suffer from it? Or the treatment for erectile dysfunction so well known that no one cares to share about it even with the closest ones?

Not really. Ironically, while India is the second most populous country in the world, It is known to be the impotence capital of the world with one in five men affected by ED. What is scarier is that more than half are not even aware of ED and about 40% would replace the regular treatment with cheaper substitutes (as reported by India.com). The trends are equally worrying with the percentage of less than 30 year olds going up from 5-7% to 25% in the first decade of the century as per a report by Times of India. 

By 2025, with a growth of 9.5% per year, the number of people affected by ED worldwide is expected to be about 332 million.

But the perception of loss of "manliness" if you suffer from ED creates such a taboo around it that most patients are not even comfortable talking to their partners or doctors about it.

What causes ED?

Firstly, erectile dysfunction is the inability to attain and sustain an erection for males while performing a sexual act. The primary reason for this is lower blood flow to the penis. 

Popular to contrary belief that the major reason for ED is stress, in most cases it is a symptom of an underlying condition rather than the ailment itself. Stress is only one of the many factors that causes it. The other factors are both physical and physiological. They include:

  • Medical conditions, medical treatments and medicines

People with diabetes, clogged blood vessels and heart conditions are more likely to suffer from ED (hence ED serving as a symptom for these conditions). Prostate surgery or chemotherapy can also be a cause of ED. Many of the anti-depressants, antihistamines and medicines used to treat high blood pressures, prostate conditions and pain can lead to erectile dysfunction.
  • Psychological conditions

Stress, anxiety and depression, these conditions might actually have a recurring effect. Owing to stress, one might not be able to perform as well as they would want and satisfy their partner, further leading to more stress and anxiety.
  • Lower testosterone levels

Testosterone is a hormone in the male body that is believed to play a vital role in sex drive and erections. Lower levels of testosterone might not be directly linked to ED but are linked to ailments like diabetes and heart diseases that can cause ED.
  • Lifestyle

obesity, smoking and substance abuse and continued excessive alcohol consumption can all lead to erectile dysfunction.
  • Injuries

Any injuries to the veins and arteries that cause obstruction in blood flow can be a primary cause for ED.

    What are the possible treatments for erectile dysfunction? Can erectile dysfunction be cured?

    Treatment of erectile dysfunction can range a simple oral medication to surgery, from temporal and immediate relief to a permanent cure.

    • Medications

    Oral medications like sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil can help in an erection in a few hours after having medication. These medications should be taken as prescribed by physician otherwise there might be severe side effects (most common being indigestion, nasal congestion and headaches)
    • Psychological counselling and sex therapies

    Therapy with a trained counsellor can help a person address feelings of anxiety and fear or guilt that may have an impact on sexual dysfunction. Sex therapy also helps a man's partner accept and cope with the problems.
    • Hormone replacement

    Testosterone replacement therapy may improve energy, mood, and bone density, increase muscle mass and weight, and heighten sexual interest in older men who may have deficient levels of testosterone. While men with lower testosterone levels can also have an erection, this might affect the sexual drive and low hormone levels may play a role in ED. Hormone replacement in the form of topical gels, creams, patches, injections and pellets are known to help with ED.
    • Penile injections

    to be used before the sexual act for an erection. Knowledge of the subject by the patient is critical before trying this treatment.
    • Mechanical devices

    Vacuum devices and penile constriction rings are aids that will help with the blood circulation to the penis thereby helping with an erection
    • Surgery

    Implants are placed in the erection chamber of the penis that allow manipulation into an erect or semi-erect position.

      Ayurvedic treatment for ED

      One of the eight key pillars of Ashtanga Ayurveda, Vajikarana or Vrishya Chikitsa is known to deal with the science of aphrodisiacs. Many herbs are recommended as a part of Charak Samhita, the ancient book detailing the herbs that can help with overcoming ED as serve as an Ayurvedic treatment for ED.

      Chyavan Rishi Ayur Siddha also promotes sexual wellness considering it is the centrepiece for overall wellness, immunity and energy. Our ayurvedic medicine for ED, Chyavan Kaya Swastham (translates to overall wellbeing of the body) consists of herbs like Salam Panja, Musli, Mulethi, Ashwagandha, Gokshura and many more. These are known to not only help with physical concerns of ED by improving the testosterone levels but also calm the mind by reducing the level of cortisol hormones. Daily consumption with milk for a month is known to alleviate the concerns of erectile dysfunction.

      If you would like to read up on the other blogs in this series called 'More common than you think', here are quick links for Urinary Tract Infection, Mental wellness, Tuberculosis, Constipation, Arthritis, Periodontitis / Pyorrhea, Anaemia, Kidney stones, Asthma, GERD / Acidity, Bloating