A number of over-the-counter herbal products advertised through late night cable television or through those spam emails that flood your inbox, often promise natural male enhancement.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been any scientific studies to show that any of them have value. Touted herbal supplements to be particularly aware of are those containing arginine, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, horny goat weed, maca root, tribulus terrestris, and yohimbe; None have been shown to improve a man’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection, and you stand to lose time and possibly hundreds of dollars to find that out.
Some men suspect low testosterone is the cause of erectile dysfunction, but there are many other physical and emotional factors at play. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.
Beyond the physical manifestations, erectile dysfunction causes much emotional damage, creating negative feelings that can range from anger to insecurity to a loss of self-esteem. –Many studies have established a strong link between erectile dysfunction and depression.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
An erection starts when sexual stimulation causes the brain, nerves, blood vessels, and hormones to send impulses to muscles surrounding two chambers of spongy tissue in the penis known as the corpora cavernosa. Those muscles then relax, allowing blood to flow into the spongy tissue and making the penis expand, resulting in an erection. Another group of muscles closes off blood flow once erection is achieved, allowing a man to maintain his erection.
Erectile dysfunction occurs when that sequence of events is disrupted by any one of many factors, including:
- Illness: Trauma or disease that damages any of the structures of the penis, including muscles, nerves, or arteries, can cause erectile dysfunction. In up to 70% of men, it can be traced to conditions like diabetes, alcoholism, and kidney, vascular, and neurologic diseases, among other health conditions.
- Unhealthy lifestyle: Smoking, being overweight, and other unhealthy habits contribute to the diseases that cause erectile dysfunction.
- Surgery: Damage to the nerves, arteries, and organs necessary for achieving and maintaining erection can be a side effect of some surgical procedures.
- Medications: Side effects of drugs for totally unrelated conditions, from high blood pressure meds to allergies treatments to appetite suppressants, can include erectile dysfunction.
- Emotional issues: Problems from stress at work to disorders like depression and even the fear of being unable to perform sexually may explain as many as 20% of cases of erectile dysfunction.
Erectile Dysfunction: Treatments That Work
Drugs to treat erectile dysfunction are one of the medical breakthroughs of the last decade. Called phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors, they boost the effects of nitric oxide, the chemical responsible for proper blood flow to the penis. These drugs include:
- Viagra (sildenafil citrate)
- Levitra (vardenafil hydrochloride)
- Cialis (tadalafil)
Get in touch with our office today to be evaluated by Dr. Gary C. Bellman. As a Board-Certified Physician with over 20 years of experience, you can trust his knowledge and expertise regarding all issues surrounding erectile dysfunction.
For an appointment or consultation with Dr. Gary Bellman, please contact the office or call 818-912-1899