Erectile Dysfunction (ED), also know as impotence, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. WebMD states that an estimated 18 million men are affected in the United States alone, and some websites claim it is up to 30 million. As we age, all of us begin to experience a reduction in our natural hormone levels, which directly affects erectile strength and endurance.
There are many issues that can cause erectile dysfunction: Stress, physical pain, illness, medications, tobacco, alcohol, and low testosterone. The inability to perform sexually causes a man a great deal of personal distress. Additionally, their partner may believe that the man has lost sexual interest in the relationship, or that the man is seeking gratification elsewhere.
Years ago, the medical profession was taught that when a patient complained of not being able to achieve and maintain an erection, he surely must be having emotional issues. It was usual for the doctor to ask about stresses in his life and work and refer him for counseling. When a man is unable to function sexually, he feels embarrassed and ashamed. He knows that he should be able to perform, but simply cannot.
Many men will see their family doctor for a prescription of Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra. These may give a temporary relief, but the side effects can be uncomfortable. Often, the user can feel flush and may experience a headache or even nausea. Additionally, these medicines can be very expensive.
Most importantly, treating ED with a male enhancement medication does not get to the root of why he is having difficulty with achieving and maintaining an erection.
There are multiple components to a working erection: Stimulation, adequate blood flow to the penis, and sustained penetration capability. Two of these three critical functions can be dramatically affected by testosterone levels in men.
First, erection of the penis with an accompanying orgasm begins in the brain. There has to be a thought, a touch, or a visual stimulus. It is said that a young man will have a sexual thought every 8 seconds. As men age and lose testosterone, that interval lengthens even if happily married. There is a large concentration of “receptor sites” in the brain to the hormone testosterone, an essential element in this process. Receptor sites are openings, or keyholes, that require a stimulus, a hormone, to unlock that cell to begin a series of functions within that cell. The neural stimulation cannot take place without testosterone. Without it, the part of the brain that normally is stimulated sexually remains inactive.
Secondly, for the penis to achieve spontaneous erection and maintain erection sufficiently for sexual activity, adequate blood flow to the penis is required. The penis must fill with blood and trap it for a sufficient period of time to achieve an orgasm. Poor circulation to the penis can impede this necessary process. Arthrosclerosis of the arterial blood vessels causes narrowing with poor perfusion. This can easily be confirmed by an ultrasound of the penis to confirm inadequate blood flow.
Finally, there are two large smooth muscle masses found in each side of the penis: The corpora cavernosa. These large muscles are absolutely necessary for the penis to achieve erection naturally and perform sexually. These strong smooth muscles readily receive stimulation from the brain to spring into action in the young healthy male. Unfornately, as men age, many lose 1% to 2% of their natural testosterone per year after age 30. Without this powerful hormone, these smooth muscles can become fatty tissue. Without testosterone, critical stimulation from the brain can be missing for this critical function.