Erectile Dysfunction Medications
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED), also referred to as impotence, is the inability to attain or maintain an erection sufficient for successful sexual activity. Normally, an erection occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the penis widen, allowing more blood to flow in, and the veins carrying blood away from the penis are compressed, restricting blood from flowing out. In other words, more blood flows in and less flows out, making the penis larger and causing an erection. Certain nerves and hormones in the body also play a role in initiating and maintaining an erection. Any abnormality involving nervous or hormonal systems, whether due to medication or disease, may affect the ability to develop and sustain an erection, to ejaculate, and to experience orgasm.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by any number of physical and psychological factors. In general, erectile dysfunction is classified according to whether it is caused by organic (caused by a bodily organ or organ system) or psychogenic (mental) factors. Diseases, nutritional status, trauma, surgical procedures, or medications can affect erectile function by altering the nervous, vascular, or hormonal systems. Some men have more than one cause for their erectile dysfunction.
How Is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?
In addition to taking medications to treat erectile dysfunction, it is important to make lifestyle changes that may alter the underlying cause of erectile dysfunction. Such changes include improving eating habits, quitting tobacco products, and/or getting regular exercise. Some doctors may prescribe more than one medication, depending on a patient's response and ability to tolerate the various medications.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/27/2014
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