Most men sometimes or the other in their lives will face problems with erection. Although a few odd episodes are nothing to worry about, frequent episodes of erectile dysfunction (ED), will require you to pay your doctor or urologist a visit. So what exactly do we mean by ED? It’s a man’s inability to get or maintain an erection strong enough for penetration. Although it is more common in men in their 50s and above, it can potentially affect anyone. Now, as per urologists, the problem is that many Indian men shy away from discussing their erection issues, even with doctors, because of which the right treatment becomes a problem. So if you think you are time and again facing issues with your erections, here are a few questions to keep handy to ask your urologist, which will help him diagnose and treat your erection issues the right way.

What causes ED?

This is very important because there are many probable causes to ED, which includes both psychological and physical conditions. In previous times, most cases of ED were attributed to a psychological problem, unlike now, where changes in lifestyle have shown men even in their 20’s and 30’s to be affected with ED. Coming to physical causes, some probable physical conditions that may cause erectile dysfunction are high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, kidney problems, cardiovascular disease, and side effects of certain medications like those taken to control high BP or treat depression. Psychological issues that attribute to ED include depression, stress, anxiety, sleep disorder, or relationship problems.

How to know whether my ED is psychological or not?

Your doctor will first check you for your sexual, medical, and psychological history. If still you and your doctor aren’t sure, then he will advise you for a nocturnal erection test, which will measure the number of erections that you have during sleep. The average number is three to five erections while sleeping. If you have a standard number of erections, then the problem is psychological or emotional as per the National Institute of Health (NIH)

What are the treatment options for ED?

Depending on the specific cause, your treatment for ED can be determined. If it’s psychological, then counseling and therapy would usually be advised by your doctor. If he finds you are suffering from ED as a result of the side effect of some medication that you are taking, then your urologist might adjust the dosage or advise you substitute medicines. He may also prescribe oral medicines like avanafil or sildenafil, which helps stimulate blood flow to your penis, thereby helping you get an erection. Penile implants, vacuum devices, or surgery may also be suggested.

How effective are medications for ED?

As per Harvard Health, 70% of men taking medications to treat ED, say they are able to get an erection firm enough for intercourse. Although some medications need to be taken daily, most are to be taken around an hour to half an hour before sex.

Are there any side effects of these medicines?

Before your doctor prescribes you any medication, talk to him in detail about the side effects of the same. The common side effects of the drugs to treat erectile dysfunction are stomach upset, headache, nasal congestion, UTI, dizziness, hot flashes, and rashes. Sometimes an extended erection is also a side effect of the same.

Is there any natural treatment for the same?

Certain herbs and supplements are known to treat ED, with varying success rates. The most commonly known popular natural supplements to treat ED are:

  • L-arginine
  • L-carnitine
  • Ginseng
  • Horny goat weed
  • Yohimbe

7 Are there any lifestyle changes that can help me manage ED better?

As the National Institute of Health, healthy lifestyle choices can help manage ED better. Changes to be made to your lifestyle includes,

  • Eating a healthy diet low on fat and consisting more of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Exercising, which helps reduce weight and as well as improves blood flow
  • Practise meditation and yoga which helps reduce stress and anxiety
  • Quit smoking

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP

Questions you should ask from your urologist about erectile dysfunction