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Quiz: The Truth About Erectile Dysfunction

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Erectile dysfunction is a normal part of getting older.

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Erectile dysfunction is a normal part of getting older.

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Erectile dysfunction -- not being able to get an erection or keep it firm enough to have sex -- happens to older men more often, but aging itself doesn’t cause it. And growing older doesn’t mean giving up sex; even men in their 90s can be sexually active.

 

If this happens to you, you’re far from alone: Half of American men older than 50 have reported some level of trouble with their erections.

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If you wake up with an erection it means you don’t have ED.

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If you wake up with an erection it means you don’t have ED.

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Some men with ED still get erections when they sleep. It’s usually a sign that their ED is caused by stress, depression, or something like that. If you don’t have nighttime erections, that usually means your ED has a physical cause.

A common cause of ED is:

A common cause of ED is:

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Smoking and doing drugs can get in the way of an erection, especially if you’ve done them for a long time. A few glasses of wine might put you in the mood, but drinking too much too often really can put a damper on your sex life, too. Quitting these habits, exercising, eating better, and getting rid of stress can help you in the bedroom.

Anytime you have a problem getting or keeping an erection, it’s considered ED.

Anytime you have a problem getting or keeping an erection, it’s considered ED.

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Being tired, stressed, having problems with your partner, or drinking too much can make it tough to get an erection, and it’s normal for that to happen once in a while. See your doctor, however, if it’s an ongoing problem. He will help you figure out the cause and give you treatment options.

ED lowers your sex drive.

ED lowers your sex drive.

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Sex drive often goes down in men with ED. If you’re not as interested in sex as you used to be, your testosterone levels might be low. A blood test can find that out.

 

Most men with ED don’t have low T, but if you do have low T, that’s probably the cause of your ED.

 

If you have low T, your doctor might prescribe testosterone patches, creams, or injections.

ED can mean you have a higher chance of having:

ED can mean you have a higher chance of having:

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ED can be a sign that you’re at risk for another health problem: heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, or diabetes. A narrowing and hardening of your arteries, the same disease that causes heart attacks and strokes, can cut off blood supply to the penis. Of course, ED doesn’t always mean you have a serious health issue, but your doctor should make sure.

What ED treatment works the best?

What ED treatment works the best?

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If the idea of injecting medicine into your penis gives you the willies, you’re in good company. Injections work the best for ED, but are also (understandably) the least popular. They work for 80% to 90% of men, however, and don’t hurt as much as it might sound. Most men say it feels like a pinch. They’re a good option when other treatments haven’t worked as well as you would like.  

ED can be a common side effect of:

ED can be a common side effect of:

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Nearly all men who have radiation or surgery for prostate cancer will have ED at first, at least for a while. The delicate nerves that run along the prostate control your erections, and anything done near them could affect your sex life. But there’s good news: About half of men who get surgery that doesn’t damage the nerves and radiation have erections again within a year.

Why do men with diabetes have a higher risk of ED?

Why do men with diabetes have a higher risk of ED?

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Diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves, which can cause ED and other problems. Men who have diabetes are two to three times more likely to have ED than men who don’t. If you have diabetes, lower your risk by exercising and keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol in check

Blood pressure medicine can cause ED.

Blood pressure medicine can cause ED.

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ED can be a side effect of a lot of medicines, including blood pressure and heart drugs, antidepressants, and tranquilizers. Drugs can affect hormones, nerves, or blood flow. If you are on a new prescription and you think it’s causing ED, don’t stop taking it. But do call your doctor; she might prescribe something else.

Pills for ED make it tough to control erections.   

Pills for ED make it tough to control erections.   

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If you take Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra, don’t worry about getting erections at awkward times. These pills work only if you are aroused. They generally help seven out of 10 men with erections and, no doubt, with confidence. Men with ED often try these first because they are easy to use.

This ED treatment has been around for more than 100 years:

This ED treatment has been around for more than 100 years:

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Men have been using vacuum erection devices, also called pumps, for more than a hundred years. They work by drawing blood into the penis. A man puts a plastic tube around his shaft and pumps air out, which causes the cylinder to tighten, forcing blood into the penis. It’s important to get these devices only from your doctor. Penile implant surgery, in which bendable or inflatable rods are put into the penis, is usually done when nothing else works.

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