What You Should Know About Occasional Erectile Dysfunction

February 13, 2024

It might be performance anxiety. It could be that looming deadline. Heck, it might even be happy hour. A wide range of events can weaken a man’s erection. If this happens to you from time to time, don’t be alarmed.

The occasional failed erection does not necessarily signal the onset of full-on erectile dysfunction – the persistent inability to get firm enough for sexual intercourse, also known as impotence. Indeed, intermittent ED is common: an estimated 43% of men have trouble “getting it up” at one time or another.

Let’s explore why.

Medical Factors Behind Erectile Dysfunction

Occasional ED can be situational, but it also could be temporary due to a health issue that reduces blood flow to the penis or damaged the penile tissue. Among these conditions:

  • Kidney disease – In addition to filtering waste from blood, your kidneys regulate hormones. A disease could threaten blood vessels (veins and arteries), nerve function, and hormone levels.
  • Diabetes – High blood sugar could damage your blood vessels and nerves, contributing to a weak erection.
  • Heart disease – Plaque buildup in the arteries impairs blood flow and blood vessel function. A weak erection is often an indicator of heart disease.
  • Prostate conditions – An enlarged prostate or prostate cancer can contribute to ED through treatments, including anti-testosterone drugs and chemotherapy.
  • Peyronie’s disease – This condition causes penile curvature or indentation due to scar tissue, making erections difficult and painful.
  • Low testosterone (Low T) ­– As men age, their bodies make less of this sex hormone. But note: An estimated 20% of adolescent and young adult men also have low testosterone levels.

Some medications taken for these conditions also can cause erectile dysfunction. Blood pressure pills, antidepressants, sedatives, and appetite suppressants are among them.

Situational Causes of ED

In certain situations, stress, performance anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues can interfere with sexual performance. These factors are considered to cause 10% to 20% of ED-related cases. Ask your physician about seeing a specialist in psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.

Note that your activities also might contribute to ED. In particular, smoking, alcohol, and recreational drugs are known to stymie sexual performance, and heavy use of any of them can put you at risk of ED. Refrain from using these stimulants and consider cutting back permanently for longer-term performance improvement.

Occasional ED Treatment Options

Occasional erectile dysfunction is normal and can be treated through lifestyle adjustments and/or medical assistance. Talk to your doctor to determine if your ED is caused by a health issue or drug side effect. Then, you can find the best treatment option for you. Among them:

  • Prescription medications, including Viagra and Cialis, have been proven to strengthen blood flow to the penis.
  • Injection therapies that contain blood-circulating medications can be self-applied at the base of the penis on an as-needed basis.
  • Urethral suppositories, which you insert into the tip of your penis, can expand the blood vessels and enhance blood flow.
  • Penile pumps, or hand-powered vacuums, can be placed over the penis and draw blood into it.
  • eWave Therapy, a treatment for more persistent ED, stimulates penile tissue by applying gentle pulses of low-frequency sounds waves, encouraging blood flow to the penis.

Treatment Starts With Trust

Occasional ED is a highly treatable healthcare issue; it does not define who you are. Trust your doctor; we discuss and treat ED issues every day.

You can learn more about ED and other men’s sexual health issues on MidLantic Urology’s website, which includes symptoms, causes, and treatments for a dozen conditions. If you’d like to talk to one of our physicians, review our provider and location guides to schedule an appointment near you.

Schedule an appointment with a MidLantic Urology Physician near you today!

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