The 10 most popular questions about ED

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The 10 most popular questions about ED

1. What causes ED?

The causes of ED could be both physical and psychological.

Physical causes include: Psychological causes include:
  • Heart disease or the narrowing of blood vessels
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Surgery
  • Injuries in the spinal cord or pelvic area
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems

The majority of ED cases are known as ‘secondary’ – this is when erectile function has been normal, but then poses a problem later in life.


2. Is ED treatable?

The good news is that ED is treatable and there are a number of ways that you can get treated. You should first consult with your doctor so they can examine any health conditions and choose the treatment that benefits you.

Most commonly used treatments are the oral medications. These pills are usually taken 20-60 minutes before sex. These include:

  • Slidenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
  • Avanafil (Spedra)

Vacuum pumps are another way in which you can treat symptoms of ED. This is an option used if you aren’t suitable for medication. They work like the oral medication where they encourage blood flow t the penis, causing an erection. You will have to consult with your doctor about this as they aren’t always available through the NHS.

3. Will ED cure itself?

In some cases ED can cure itself without needing treatment. Sometimes, a few lifestyle changes can make all the difference such as:

  • Exercising – to improve blood flow
  • Adopting a healthier diet – prevent obesity and beneficial to people who are diabetic
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Reducing your alcohol intake
  • Finding the problems that were affecting your sex life

These are just some lifestyle changes that can try but if the problem persists, it is best to consult your doctor for treatment.


4. Can ED be genetic?

Whilst the actual condition is not genetic, certain factors that cause ED may run in the family. Some doctors are quite sceptical that genetics may be a contributing factor to ED however, certain medical conditions such as obesity, stroke and heart disease are linked to ED so it is important that you know your family history and more importantly adopt a healthier lifestyle.


5. What ED medication is the most effective?

Fortunately, there are a range of medications which are available to men to treat ED. Each drug has its own advantage and the effectiveness of it depends on the individual. Here are four ED drugs which are currently on the market for more information:

Name Time to take effect Duration of effect
Viagra 30-60  4-6 hours Developed by Pfizer – proven brand quality and most commonly used
Cialis 15-60  Up to 36 hours Longest duration in comparison to all the ED drugs
Levitra 30-60  4-6 hours Usually  for diabetics
Spedra 15  4-6 hours


6. Can ED cause premature ejaculation (PE)?

Research suggests that often ED and premature ejaculation (PE) are correlated as both are associated with less favourable experiences. Men who are more anxious about maintaining an erection during sexual intercourse are more likely to form a habit of premature ejaculation. The fear of losing an erection could cause you to rush through sexual encounters therefore at risk of PE. Pelvic floor exercises, relaxing to reduce your anxiety and opening up and talking about it with your partner can all useful in reducing PE.

7. Is there relation between ED and smoking, ED and alcohol?

ED and smoking:

Research show that ED is more likely to happen if you are a heavy smoker than if you were a non-smoker. Causes of ED is due to a lack of blood supply to the penis, and heavy smoking over time causes damage to your blood vessels.

ED and alcohol:

Studies have shown that men who heavily intake alcohol have a 60-70% change of suffering from sexual problems. There are links between the overconsumption of alcohol and the risk of long-term ED, as it can cause damage to your blood vessels which can lead to hypertension or heart disease, both contributing to ED.


8. Is ED caused by smoking or drinking reversible?

A persistent habit of smoking will be damaging to your health and will not help with your ED issues. Once you quit smoking, immediately your health starts to improve. The likelihood of having a heart attack decreases and reduces the risk of impotence. Similar to heavy alcohol use, the effects can be damaging as it interferes with your testosterone levels. Reducing your alcohol consumption or stopping altogether will improve erectile function and reverse ED.


9. Can ED be purely psychological?

ED is most commonly cause caused by physical problems such as heart disease and anxiety. In the absence of health problems, ED can be caused by psychological factors, for example, stress and depression.

Stress – The brain will lack the ability to send the signals to trigger a physical response causing ED.

Depression – Depression constantly weights you down in almost all aspects of your life and affects the way you are physically and mentally. This causes men to lack concentrating and lost interest in most if not all activities, meaning it is more difficult for them to feel pleasure in anything.

The key to finding a treatment to ED is to find the cause of psychological issue. Psychological causes of ED can reduce your confidence, but it’s important to open up to someone about any concerns you have.


10. When were ED treatments first invented?

Treatments for ED date back to the eighth century but by the 1800’s there was a realisation that there was a link with erectile function and testosterone. Sheep testis extract was injected as a source of testosterone to revert impotence. This was a procedure used until around mid-1900’s. But it was around 1989 when the treatment of ED was revolutionised by Pfizer employees with the creation of Sildenafil, also known as Viagra.

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