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What are the special features of erectile dysfunction (ED)

It’s all very well knowing and understanding about one or several drug medications but it should be stressed that it’s equally just as important, if not more so, to fully grasp and understand the condition that’s been treated. Right now the focus is on erectile dysfunction or ED, a sexual condition that’s dreaded by all men and all efforts are made to find a cure for it. Let’s understand more about ED.

Succinct facts about erectile dysfunction (ED)

The most pertinent facts about erectile dysfunction are given below that include:

  • About 100 million men fall victim to erectile dysfunction on a worldwide scale.
  • It has been estimated that the number of men who will be affected by erectile dysfunction will double by 2025, only 24 years from now.
  • Erectile dysfunction imposes a significant impact on the quality of life given that it often occurs which sometimes goes untreated in those who suffer from it due to their refusal to admit they have the disease.
  • Studies have found that erectile dysfunction is more prevalent among men of 60 years of age and over, but is not restricted to those in this age group but can occur in all men of all ages.
  • Having erectile dysfunction means that your sexual partner can also be indirectly affected.
  • Some people suspect that wearing tight clothing might contribute to causing erectile function but there is no truth in this claim. Nevertheless a myth has remained in circulation for decades that the wearing of tight underwear, jeans or other tight clothing could be the cause of erectile dysfunction,
  • Some cases of erectile dysfunction are caused purely from psychological factors.
  • In many cases, erectile dysfunction may be a forewarning of heart disease, high blood pressure and an early death.

A more detailed scrutiny of erectile dysfunction

In attempting to have a more detailed look at what ED is all about, we might as well start with the obvious question: What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction is not a temporary condition that comes and goes but is a persistent and prolonged condition that impedes a man from achieving and maintaining an erection for a period of time that’s long enough for him and his partner to have sexual relations with one another.

Far more than just impeding the gratification of sexual union, erectile dysfunction can also exert a significant impact on the psychological and physical wellbeing of men all over the world.

It can also adversely affect the quality of life of both those who suffer from it as well as their sexual partners.

The penile erection mechanism

Penile erection is not some simple operation of simply turning on and turning off feelings, but a highly sophisticated and complex phenomenon.

It’s complex because it involves a coordinated balance between the neurological, vascular and tissue compartments of your body.

The erection of the penis involves the dilation of arteries, the relaxation of trabecular smooth muscle, and last but not least, the activation of the corporeal veno-occlusive mechanism.

However, It’s not only the complexities of the relaxations and activations of muscles that are being considered here but also the various obstructing and impeding risk factors that can facilitate the occurrence of erectile dysfunction.

These conditions are not remote but they take place in our midst and most cases we are responsible for their occurrence by what we do or omit to do.

They include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes hyperlipedaemia, hypogonadism, symptoms on the lower urinary tract, metabolic syndrome, depression and smoking.

One warning that sexual medicine specialists repeatedly sound is that those who are confronted by erectile dysfunction simply consider it unimportant and ignore it!

The mechanism that triggers penile erection

It’s now time to immerse ourselves in the jargon of the medical professionals and try to make sense of what they say about penile erection.

Penile erection is no more than a spinal reflex which is triggered by an automatic and somatic penile afferents as well as by supraspinal influences that act through visual, olfactory and imaginary stimuli.

There should be some centralized control somewhere and there is in the form of several central transmitters that control the erection process and these are:

  • dopamine
  • acetylcholine
  • nitric acid
  • peptides such as ochytocin and adrenocorticotropin/a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone.

There are also two central transmitters that impede penile erection, serotonin which is a chemical and encephalin, a natural painkiller that secretes in the brain and spinal cord.  The former can facilitate or inhibit while the latter can only inhibit.

The amount of contraction of smooth muscle cells embedded in the corpus cavernosa is controlled by the balance between the contracting and relaxing forces.

It is the hormone neurotransmitter noradrenaline that actually contracts moth the smooth muscle of the corpus cavernosum and the penile vessels by the stimulation of al-adrenoceptors, while nitric oxide is the most dynamic factor for relaxing the penile vessels and corpus covernosum.

What happens during sexual stimulation is the release of nitric oxide and in turn triggers the enzyme guanylate cyclase causing an an increase in the level of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in the corpus cavernosum.

These processes triggered by nitric oxide finally reach the other extreme of smooth muscle movement, that of relaxation which allows increased inflow of blood into the penis.

What comes next is the regulation of the cyclic guanosine monophosphate level, and this is done by the rate of combined formation of compounds through the gualylate cyclase and by the rate of degradation through cyclic guanosine monophosphate hydrolysing PDEs.

Most common causes of erectile dysfunction

Normal erectile function can be disrupted by three main factors which include blood flow problems, nerve supply or hormones.

 One of the main problems that cause blood flow problems is atherosclerosis or arterial disease. Patients with this type of disease suffer from the narrowing and clogging up of their arteries and penises preventing the needed flow of blood to the penis to generate an erection.

The following are the most common physical organic disorders that cause erectile dysfunction:

  • heart disease and narrowing blood vessels
  • multiple sclerosis
  • diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity and metabolic syndrome
  • injuries in the pelvic area of spinal cord
  • hormonal irregularities such as thyroidal conditions and lack of testosterone
  • complications following surgical operation
  • anatomical or structural disorder of the penis such as Peyronie disease
  • drug abuse, alcoholism or smoking
  • prostate disease treatments
  • radiation treatment to the pelvic region.


When you come to terms about something such as drug medication, you are no longer ion the dark, you know the problem you are facing and you are also aware that there’s a real chance of treating your condition and overcoming it. In this article an attempt has been made to make you look at your medical nightmare in the face, how to avoid it and how to cure it when you do contract it. The choice is yours!

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