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Erectile dysfunction, often simply called impotence, is an issue that affects many men. It can be a one-time or occasional problem or a chronic one. In any case, erectile dysfunction has significant emotional and psychological impact on men.

This problem, characterized by the inability to gain or maintain erection, is not always a cause for concern. However, given the amount of stress, embarrassment and frustration it implies, it is better to see a doctor who will evaluate the problem and recommend steps and measures to overcome it. It is also important to realize that, if it is chronic and ongoing, erectile dysfunction can indicate a more serious underlying problem.

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction

When talking about erectile dysfunction, most experts actually refer to an ongoing problem rather than a one-time issue regarding the inability to gain and maintain the erection firm enough for sex.

The basic symptoms of erectile dysfunction are difficulty or inability getting an erection, difficulty or inability maintaining an erection and, sometimes, reduced sexual desire.

It is recommended to see a doctor if erectile dysfunction is affecting the relationship or presents a serious issue with the partner, if there is a history of diabetes, circulation or heart problems and if there are other symptoms as well, even if they seem unrelated to erectile dysfunction.

Risk factors

With age, it may become more difficult to achieve an erection and to remain firm for the required period. In older people this is probably just something that comes with age, but in younger ones it may indicate another problems.

Erectile dysfunction can be related to certain risk factors, such as medical conditions including heart problems and diabetes. People with these problems often report erection difficulties as one of the side effects of their illness.

Emotional stress or relationship problems are often the root cause of erectile dysfunction.

Smoking or chewing tobacco, especially if it is a long-term habit, has several negative effects on the heart and the circulatory system, which may eventually lead to erectile dysfunction. The same goes for alcoholism and drug abuse.

Some medications list erectile dysfunction as one of the adverse effects, however it is usually a temporary problem that goes away when the treatment is over.

Obesity is another risk factor for erectile dysfunction. This problem can also arise from certain medical interventions, such as prostate surgery or radiation therapy for cancer, as well as from injuries.

According to many experts, bicycling, especially if regular and prolonged, may lead to temporary erection difficulties because during that activity the nerves become compressed and the blood flow to the penis is reduced.

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