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Myths and Facts About Erectile Dysfunction

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Erectile Dysfunction and Overall Health continued...

Myth: If you have trouble getting an erection, it’s because you’re not attracted to your partner.

Fact: There are many reasons why a man might experience erection problems. Although lack of sexual attraction to one’s partner might be one of them, it’s actually far more likely to be something else. ED can be caused by:

  • Heart problems, such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes -- between 35% and 50% of men with diabetes experience ED
  • A variety of prescription drugs, including medications for blood pressure, anxiety, and depression
  • Neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Mood or emotional problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Certain types of prostate and bladder surgery

 

Treating Erectile Dysfunction

Myth: If I have erectile dysfunction, I’ll have to take pills for the rest of my life.

Fact: There are many options for treating erectile dysfunction. The FDA-approved medications specifically for ED treatment are effective for many men. These include medications taken by mouth, injected directly into the penis, or inserted into the urethra. 

Because erectile dysfunction can also be the result of an underlying health condition like atherosclerosis or high blood pressure, treating the condition may help alleviate your erection problems, too. If a prescription medication causes ED as a side effect, ask your doctor if you can be switched to another medication. Don’t stop taking any medication before talking to your doctor. If pills don’t work out for you, keep in mind that prescription medicines aren’t your only option.

You may also be able to make a few lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, losing weight, or decreasing your alcohol intake can significantly improve your sexual potency and help your erection problems.

Psychotherapy has also been effective for many men who experience anxiety-related erectile dysfunction associated with sexual performance. You can find a trained counselor with experience in this area of treatment by contacting the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT)

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