Erectile Dysfunction

Overview

Erectile dysfunction is a serious condition that many men suffer from due to a variety of causes. An erection involves many parts of the body starting with a stimulus. Once those nerves are stimulated, the brain sends messages to nerves located in the penis that signal the blood vessels to relax and allow the blood to flow. Erectile dysfunction is the term for when any part of this process is disrupted and the sexual function is hindered on a consistent basis. There are several forms of this condition mainly broken down into two categories: the inability to form an erection or the inability to keep an erection. The cause of erectile dysfunction varies drastically from emotional stress to vascular disease and numerous other causes in between. To manage this, many men turn to prescription medication; however, there may be more serious underlying causes which also need to be corrected. Once these underlying forces are analyzed and rectified, sexual dysfunction is also corrected in most cases.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

6.5 percent of men in their 20s may experience erectile dysfunction. At age 75, that percentage increases to 75 percent. Due to the many different parts of the body involved in the erection process, there are a variety of possible and compounding causes of erectile dysfunction. There are three main categories that cover these causes: hormonal, physical/vascular, and psychological.

Hormones and Erectile Dysfunction

Hormone imbalances are many times thought only to be connected to women. However, this is a very false association; many men suffer from either low male hormones or high estrogen. Multiple problems are associated with both imbalances, one of them being erectile dysfunction caused by low levels male hormones.

Physical/Vascular Health and Erectile Dysfunction

The body's overall physical health is important for a successful erection. Excess weight, diabetes, various medical conditions, including underlying heart disease, tobacco use, nerve damage, or drug use can all play a part in causing erectile dysfunction.

One of the most serious causes is poor vascular health. Healthy vessels in the penis are especially critical since they are smaller than most others in the body. For blood to properly flow through, these small vessels cannot be restricted.

Psychological Effects of Erectile Dysfunction

Psychological factors are the least common cause of long-term erectile dysfunction; however, if present, they are very hard to manage without physiological help. The most common mental factors include stress, anxiety, abuse, low self-esteem, depression or guilt.

Certain prescription medicines, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety agents, cardiac medications such as calcium channel blockers and angiotensin II receptor blockers (also known as angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs) can cause erectile dysfunction. (Viagra and Cialis can actually worsen heart disease, and erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of heart disease.)

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Symptoms

You may be suffering from erectile dysfunction when the following symptoms occur on a regular basis:

  • Lower than usual sexual drive
  • Difficulty/inability to get an erection
  • Difficulty/inability to keep an erection
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Management Plan

Since there may be a very serious underlying cause for your erectile dysfunction, it is important to take the time necessary to determine the appropriate course of action to manage the condition. The first step is to talk to the doctor and try to find the root of the problem. Dr. Allibone M.D. will analyze your medical history and conduct several tests to determine the cause of your condition, and then develop a management plan based on those results.

If hormonal issues are present, Houston Wellness Clinic will use a variety of methods to raise the male hormones and decrease estrogen levels if necessary to create the correct balance. These methods will differ based on each individual patient and can vary from the administration of bioidentical hormones to changing a diet plan. Once the male and female hormones are back to a healthy balance the performance issues improve.

If the cause of the problem is discovered to be poor vascular or physical health, management plans will be created to fix the exact problem. Houston Wellness Clinic offers advanced managements for vascular health including the extraction of lipids as well as chelation therapy. These methods aid in the recovery of vascular health and will not contribute to the problem by adding medication with threats of additional side effects.

Increasing nitric oxide levels with L-arginine, dietary changes, and Neo40 can help increase and obtain better blood flow. Combining L-arginine with Pycnogenol and red ginseng (also known as Korean, Panax or Asian ginseng) also enhances L-arginine’s effect of producing nitric oxide. If the response is less than optimal, a methylation defect involving the ENOS enzyme pathway needs to be excluded.

If other physical issues are present, the doctor will address these on an individual basis.

Physiological problems are the hardest to manage medically. Many times these need to be addressed on a personal level depending on the situation. However, the doctor has herbal managements that may be discussed to aid in increasing mood or sexual desire.

Overall, Houston Wellness Clinic will first carefully analyze the underlying forces creating the problem then use an individualized plan to manage it. Each patient’s body is different; therefore, the cause as well as the management plan for erectile dysfunction will be unique to that person. Using this method will drastically increase the chance of creating a long-term fix with no negative side effects.

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If we fill our hours with regrets of yesterday and with worries of tomorrow, we have no today in which to enjoy our existence. Seize the day, and take control of your health and life. How you are going to live those tomorrows will depend on how you act and choose today. - George Allibone M.D.