To put it simply erectile dysfunction or ED is when you have difficulty achieving and/or maintaining an erection.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the expert’s definition of erectile dysfunction.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is generally the inability of a man to get an erection and maintain it till the ‘act’ is complete.
According to Erectile Dysfunction experts, the occasional inability to get it up does not mean that you have erectile dysfunction.
As per a report by the International Consultation Committee for Sexual Medicine on Definitions/Epidemiology/Risk Factors for Sexual Dysfunction, the Erectile Dysfunction experts interviewed conclude; it is normal to fail to achieve an erection once in a while1.
However, if this inability to get and maintain an erection persists for at least 3 months, then you may suffer from erectile dysfunction or ED as it is known in short.
According to their study, erectile dysfunction can be graded as follows:
- Grade A: men who can achieve and maintain a normal erection throughout intercourse every single time
- Grade B: men who can more often than not achieve and maintain an erection throughout intercourse
- Grade C: men who can sometimes achieve and maintain an erection throughout intercourse
- Grade D: men who cannot achieve and maintain an erection at all
What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?
When it comes to the symptoms, they must occur regularly for a period of more than 3 to 6 months for it to be classified as erectile dysfunction.
The symptoms to look out for include:
- Difficulty getting an erection
- A hard time maintaining an erection during intercourse
- A markedly reduced desire to partake in sexual activity
When these symptoms are persistent, you are likely to have erectile dysfunction. It is, therefore, advisable to get in touch with a physician, more specifically a doctor that’s an ED expert so that they can diagnose the condition.
What are the causes of erectile dysfunction?
With a condition that affects a vital facet of human masculinity, it is important to know where it springs from.
Erectile dysfunction experts claim the causes of erectile dysfunction can be either organic or psychogenic.
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Organic causes of ED
The organic causes of ED include:
- Spinal cord injury
- High blood pressure
- Arterial insufficiency
- Hypogonadism – a condition where the testes don’t secrete enough hormones
- Penile fracture, when the tissue of your penis breaks
- Medication and drugs
- Diabetes mellitus
- Disorders of the thyroid gland
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
Psychogenic causes of ED
These are the causes of erectile dysfunction that are mental or psychological.
- Social pressures
- Problems in the relationship with your partner
- Mental health problems
Although the causes of ED can be either psychogenic or organic, it doesn’t mean that the two categories are mutually exclusive. Sometimes, the sexually debilitating condition can be brought about by a combination of organic and psychogenic factors4.
For example, age is one of the risk factors of ED. As a man grows older, he is more likely to lead a sedentary lifestyle and develop physical and mental health problems.
All these are indicated as causative factors when it comes to erectile dysfunction.
- Lewis, R.W., Fugl‐Meyer, K.S., Corona, G., Hayes, R.D., Laumann, E.O., Moreira Jr, E.D., Rellini, A.H. and Segraves, T., 2010. Definitions/epidemiology/risk factors for sexual dysfunction. The journal of sexual medicine, 7(4pt2), pp.1598-1607. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01778.x
- Rao, T.S., Darshan, M.S. and Tandon, A., 2015. An epidemiological study of sexual disorders in south Indian rural population. Indian journal of psychiatry, 57(2), p.150. http://www.indianjpsychiatry.org/article.asp?issn=0019-5545;year=2015;volume=57;issue=2;spage=150;epage=157;aulast=Sathyanarayana
- Pastuszak, A.W., 2014. Current diagnosis and management of erectile dysfunction. Current sexual health reports, 6(3), pp.164-176. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4394737/