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Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common health condition that affects millions of men. While it can be associated with advancing age or psychological problems, there are other factors that may contribute to it. Here are some common causes of erectile dysfunction and what you can do about them.
Many prescription medications can cause erectile dysfunction, however, medications used in the treatment of heart disease and high blood pressure are most often implicated. One such medication is the beta blocker known as propranolol.
When you take propranolol, the blood from your extremities and other parts of your body is directed to your heart so that it maintains optimal perfusion and stays strong. Because of this, other parts of your body such as a male genitalia may have diminished blood flow, and therefore, not function properly. If you take medications for your heart or blood pressure and experience ED, tell your doctor.
He or she may reduce the dosage, which may help your symptoms. If you still have problems, the medication may be replaced with a different one, that is less likely to cause erectile dysfunction.
Diuretics can also cause erectile problems. These medications are used to treat hypertension and edema of the ankles, and one of the major side effects of diuretics is frequent urination. This can cause severe dehydration, especially if you don't drink enough fluids, and lead to ED.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
A cardiovascular disorder known as peripheral vascular disease can also cause ED. It affects your blood vessels, and may be caused by diabetes or kidney disease. In addition to erectile problems, peripheral vascular disease can cause vision changes, an irregular heartbeat, difficulty walking, and shortness of breath.
Medication can help establish optimal blood flow to the vascular system, however, other interventions such a getting regular exercise, losing weight, lowering blood pressure, and not smoking will also help improve your symptoms.
If you have problems with ED, and are unsure why, make an appointment for a complete physical. ED is often the first symptom of peripheral vascular disease, and will need to be treated quickly. Longstanding or untreated peripheral vascular disease can raise your risk for heart attack and stroke.
If you take cardiovascular medications or if you have peripheral vascular disease, see your healthcare provider on a regular basis. Erectile dysfunction can be effectively treated, however, before your doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment, the underlying cause needs to be established.