Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes, Treatment, and More

It's time to talk about ED (Erectile Dysfunction)

Erectile Dysfunction impacts nearly 30 million men, and yet most go untreated. Silence is not a solution, so let's start a conversation about how you can overcome ED.

What is ED?

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the most frequent sexual problem that men report to their doctor. It is defined as the inability to develop or maintain an erection that is firm enough to engage in sexual intercourse and other related activities. Periodic problems with erections are not unusual; however, when these occasional episodes become routine it's time for a conversation with your doctor.

What causes an erection?

It's not only about blood flow. An erection is the result of a complicated series of stimuli and responses involving the brain, nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system (hormones), muscular system, as well as psychological and emotional factors.

Even minor medical issues that impact any one of these systems can disrupt the chain of events and result in erectile issues. Most ED cases have an underlying physical explanation; however, anxiety can also be a contributing factor that intensifies the underlying physical problem.

Conditions that contribute to ED may include, but are not limited to:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Performance anxiety
  • Prostate cancer or BPH
  • Low testosterone (hypogonadism)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Smoking/Alcoholism/Substance Abuse
  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)
  • Pelvic surgery (prostatectomy or rectal surgery)
  • Peyronie's disease (scar tissue inside the penis)
  • Neuromuscular disorder (Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, etc.)
  • Prescription medications (including blood pressure, antidepressants, anti-ulcer, tranquilizers, and diuretics)


  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Trouble keeping an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • The need for a thorough medical check-up
A Summary of ED
Inability to maintain an erection can affect your self confidence and sexuality.
  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Trouble keeping an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • The need for a thorough medical check-up

Sexuality is a characteristically complex part of being human.

No other aspect of human functioning involves so many components of a person's sense of self.1  The goals of treatment for ED are universal: restoring or enhancing sexual function, improving overall health, and optimizing the quality of life and well-being for a man and his partner. But every man who struggles with ED is unique. He has individual symptoms, degree of distress, associated health conditions, and his partner's concerns.

The process of going into detail about one's sexual dysfunction makes it possible to include these individual patient factors in the treatment process. The physician shares information about the best available choices for diagnostic procedures and treatments. The patient can express his personal preferences and values that ultimately lead to an informed choice aligned with those preferences and values.

Frequent problems with erection can affect your sexuality and indicate risk for serious health issues.

The patient's commitment includes the willingness to absorb information, ask questions, and clearly express his and his partner's preferences and values. The sharing of information and personal commitment to the process result in mutual responsibility that creates a respectful collaboration and decision regarding diagnostic and treatment plans.

Shared decision making is the cornerstone of patient-centered care in the treatment and management of ED.1

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Options

Over the past three decades, the conversation about men's sexual health has become less stigmatized. The result has been a surge in medical innovations that deliver real solutions for millions of men. These solutions may include natural remedies, medications, medical devices, lifestyle changes, and more.

The good news is that there have never been more options to help you achieve your full potential. Depending on your underlying condition, the professionals at Kenworthy Urology will develop an individual treatment plan for your ED based on the following options:

  • Oral Medication
    Oral medication may be the first treatment option for some men, but there are many medications on the market, and each one has distinct advantages. Depending on your sexual needs and other medical conditions, oral medication may be an effective solution for you.

  • Penile Injections
    Unlike oral medication, these medicines are injected directly into the penis (often 5 – 15 minutes before the desired erection). Injection therapy is an appropriate solution for men who cannot take or do not respond to oral medication for various reasons.

  • Low-Intensity Shockwave Therapy
    This state-of-the-art solution does not involve medication or surgery and has shown favorable results for as many as 75% of treated patients. Unlike most other treatment plans, this groundbreaking therapy addresses the underlying condition rather than treating the symptom. Low intensity sound waves are used to trigger the body's natural process of building new blood vessels (neovascularization). This increased blood flow often results in more substantial erections.
  • Vacuum Device
    A simple, safe, and cost-effective solution to achieve an erection. A tube is placed over the penis which is then pumped either by an electric or hand pump. The pump creates a vacuum that draws blood into the penis creating an erection. A constriction band is placed at the base of the penis to keep the erection once the pump is removed. This is an appropriate solution for men whose medical history does not allow for other treatments. It can also be combined with other forms of ED therapy. There are many of these devices available online that often have misleading claims and are unsafe/unapproved. Be sure to consult a doctor before purchasing or using any vacuum device.

Natural Remedies for ED

Some of the most effective and long-lasting treatments for ED involve natural lifestyle changes such as weight loss, stress reduction, dietary changes, and counseling. These methods not only result in improved sexual health but also enhance the total quality of life. They frequently result in overall health improvements in related areas such as diabetes management, cardiovascular health, and much more. Natural solutions are regularly used in combination with other medical treatments. Click here to explore how natural treatments for ED can work for you.

New ED Treatments

The past few decades have seen astounding advances in clinical research and therapeutic methods to treat erectile dysfunction. New options are constantly in the pipeline as scientific research discovers new pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and less invasive solutions. Dr. Paul Kenworthy and the professionals at Kenworthy Urology are at the forefront in urological health advances. For more than 25 years, Dr. Kenworthy has been offering the latest and most effective solutions to help ensure the best results for all our patients, including you.

Risk Factors

All men, regardless of their decision to treat ED, should request information about and screening for possible underlying medical issues that may contribute to erectile dysfunction. Many are overlooked, independent risk factors for poor health, reduced quality of life, and decreased life span.

Hypertension is frequently associated with ED and often contributes to its development. Approximately 35% of men with hypertension have some degree of ED.

Dyslipidemia refers to an abnormal amount of lipids (e.g. triglycerides, cholesterol, and/or fat phospholipids) in the blood. Elevated levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are important risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke and are also significantly correlated with moderate to severe ED.

Diabetes Mellitus may be previously undiagnosed but brought to light by a diagnosis of ED, one of the most common complications of diabetes mellitus. This relationship highlights the importance of screening men with ED for diabetes-related risk factors.

Heart Disease and Stroke have a documented link to ED, regardless of other risk factors. In a study published June 11, 2018, in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that men with ED were nearly twice as likely to experience heart attacks, cardiac arrests, sudden cardiac death, and fatal or non-fatal strokes than those without E2 Other risk factors commonly associated with ED include depression, smoking, premature ejaculation, decreased blood flow, lower urinary tract symptoms secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and other causes of voiding dysfunction, such as an overactive bladder. These connections underscore the importance of assessing the overall health of patients with ED.

Don't let Erectile Dysfunction damage your sexuality. Find ED solutions.

Contact Dr. Paul Kenworthy today for a specialty consultation.

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