Improving Men’s Health: Erectile Dysfunction Awareness

The effort to raise awareness of men’s health and wellness issues is gathering steam year-round with lifestyle challenges and month-long initiatives like National Cancer Prevention Month (February), Men’s Health Month (June) and Prostate Cancer Month (September). Recently, National Impotence Day (Feb. 14) focused attention on erectile dysfunction: a condition that affects as many as 30 million U.S. men. The goal of these efforts is to provide the public and healthcare professionals with facts about ED and the many FDA-approved treatments available to restore men’s confidence and sexual health.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Many men are silent about ED symptoms and concerns since the potential for impotence carries the weight of emotional stress. However, any man may have difficulty achieving or keeping an erection at some point in his life. Erectile problems only become a cause for concern when they continue, undermining a man’s confidence and affecting his relationships. When persistent difficulties affect a man’s sexual performance at least 50% of the time, erectile dysfunction is present.

Common Causes of ED

Physical changes

  • Aging
  • Injuries
  • Medication side effects

Underlying medical conditions

  • Diabetes
  • Cardio-vascular problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Diseases & injuries

Lifestyle choices

  • Excessive drinking
  • Smoking
  • Drug abuse
  • Inactivity & weight gain

Treatments & Surgeries

  • Biopsies
  • Prostate & bladder cancer surgery
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatments

Psychological Factors

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems
  • Performance anxiety

Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction

Although many men are reluctant to discuss sexual health with their physicians, a frank talk with a family doctor or urologist is the prescription for successfully diagnosing and treating ED. In most cases, your clinician will take a medical history and perform a physical exam to detect underlying conditions or chronic illnesses. You may also be queried about your lifestyle and screened for depression and other psychological disorders. In some cases, your doctor may order additional tests like blood tests, urine tests or an ultrasound to check the blood vessels in the penis.

Broad Range of Approved ED Treatments

Whatever the cause of your erectile dysfunction, physicians have an array of highly effective treatments to restore sexual health and improve quality of life. Treating an underlying medical condition like hypertension or diabetes will often take care of the erectile dysfunction. Changing lifestyle habits by losing weight, exercising, quitting smoking and managing stress may also restore sexual wellness. Other safe and highly effective treatments include:

  • Oral medications that enhance the body’s naturally occurring nitric oxide to relax the muscles in the penis and increase blood flow, allowing sexual stimulation to produce an erection. These medications have been widely advertised and include the brand names Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.
  • Penis pumps that create a vacuum around the penis and draw blood into it, resulting in an erection that lasts up to 30 minutes.
  • Self-administered injections that have an 85% success rate.
  • Surgical procedures to improve blood flow to the penis or to place penile implants.

Eliminating ED Due to Prostate Cancer Biopsy

The 4Kscore test has the potential to eliminate a source of erectile dysfunction in men at risk for prostate cancer. Abnormal PSA readings often lead to unnecessary biopsies, with ED as a serious side effect. The 4Kscore Test accurately predicts men’s risk for aggressive prostate cancer. 4Kscore can also distinguish aggressive prostate cancer from the type of low-grade cancer that requires monitoring instead of biopsy. If you have received an abnormal PSA reading, ask your physician if the 4Kscore Test could protect you from ED and other side effects of unnecessary procedures. Read more about the benefits of 4Kscore testing online or contact GenPath Diagnostics to get your questions answered today.