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Explained: What is erectile dysfunction?

January 16, 2020 09:35 IST

The condition affects about 40% of the men at age 40 and 70% by age 70, says Vipul Jain.

What is erectile dysfunction

Image published for representational purposes only. Photograph: Star Flames/Pixabay.com

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve a natural erection and is commonly referred as 'impotence.'

Men with ED have reduced sexual drive.

Most men are uncomfortable in talking about Erectile Dysfunction mainly due to the social stigma associated with it.

As a result, very few seek medical treatment. This can have long term implications affecting self-esteem, triggering mental stress and also contribute to relationship issues with your partner.

It is actually more common than thought and affects about 40% of the men at age 40 and 70% by age 70.

It is natural for many men to experience ED under minor illness or stress. But a long-term problem may be a reason for seeking help. Therefore, it is advisable to drop any embarrassment in taking medical consultation.

The doctor will advise simple laboratory tests such as testosterone levels or HbA1c for diabetes. It is not a life-threatening condition but merely a symptom of another condition.

Does ED affect only the elderly?

ED not just affects the elderly but could occur at any age.

Since sexual arousal is a complex process involving the nervous system, muscles and blood vessels, a lot of chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or neurodegenerative disorders could be responsible for development of ED.

However psychological factors contribute the most to development of ED such as anxiety, depression and stress.

How can ED be prevented?

A number of lifestyle modifications can help in preventing ED such as a healthy diet, exercise, adequate sleep and refraining from smoking, drug abuse or alcohol.

It is also essential to reduce stress levels since psychological factors are very strong reasons affecting ED.

Does ED cause infertility?

ED does not cause infertility. It just restricts your sexual function which can delay your pregnancy. However, another condition associated with infertility may prevent you from getting an erection.

ED neither affects the sperm count nor the sperm quality. It would only prevent you from ejaculating to facilitate pregnancy.

Is ED curable?

ED is curable at all ages. Over the counter medications such Sildenafil popularly known as the little blue pill or viagra help in relaxing muscles thus improving the blood flow.

Alternatively, there may be testosterone administration or usage of assistive devices such as penile pumps. However, these are temporary solutions and may require repetitive usage.

For chronic conditions leading to ED, a more permanent cure may be preferred after understanding the root cause of the problem.


Vipul Jain is CEO, Advancells that provides stem cell therapy solutions. He can be contacted on ga@rediff-inc.com.


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