Erectile dysfunction, which is also known as impotence, is the inability to achieve and/or maintain an erection.
It is a common condition that affects millions of men; it is estimated that half of men in the UK aged between 40 and 70 have erectile dysfunction to some degree, but it can affect men of all ages. Although the risk does increase with age, erectile dysfunction shouldn’t be seen as a consequence of ageing.
There are many causes for erectile dysfunction ranging from underlining health conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol), hormonal problems, previous surgery and injury through to psychological problems such as anxiety, depression and relationship issues. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis and identify the cause in order for the appropriate treatment or procedure to be recommended.
An erection is a direct result of increased blood flow into your penis. This blood flow is stimulated by sexual thoughts and arousal, or direct contact with your penis. When a man becomes sexually aroused, all the muscles in the penis relax, allowing the blood flow to increase into the penile arteries. The blood then fills the two chambers that are inside the penis, called the Corpora Cavernosa. When these chambers fill with blood, the penis becomes rigid and erect. The erection ends when the muscles finally contract, and the blood can flow back out the penile veins.
Our Uro-Andrology department is led by Mr. Giulio Garaffa, an award-winning Consultant Uro-Andrologist with over 20 years’ international medical experience in this field. Mr Garaffa has a global reputation for his excellence in urology and andrology and is one of the leading experts in the fields of erectile dysfunction, congenital penile curvature, complex penile reconstruction, phalloplasty, Peyronie’s disease, male infertility and microsurgery.
How do I know if I have erectile dysfunction?
+ You have difficulty getting an erection OR
+ You have trouble maintaining an erection during sexual acts OR
+ You have a lack of interest in sex
If you experience any of these symptoms for more than 2-3 months, speak to your doctor.
To determine if you have erectile dysfunction, your doctor will inquire about your symptoms and your health history. They will do tests if necessary to determine whether or not those symptoms are caused by an underlying health issue. This may include a physical exam, blood pressure work, and examination of your penis and testicles. This may also include a rectal exam to check on your prostate.
If surgery is needed, your doctor will go over the best method for you and give you your options. You may be prescribed medication as well.