The risk of developing erectile dysfunction increases with age. In men older than 60, this disease occurs four times more often than in patients aged 40 to 60 years old. According to medical statistics, over 30% of men aged 18–40 suffer from impaired sexual function to various degrees.
To diagnose erectile dysfunction and classify its causes according to ICD 10, doctors offer a list of questions that will help determine whether the problem is medical or related to emotional causes. The answers will help the attending physician in the diagnosis.
1. Is there no erection at all or erection problem occurs only from time to time?
If over several years erections gradually became more and more unstable and disappeared shortly after their occurrence, but now they are not even observed at all, then the probable cause is a slowly progressing physical problem.
If the erection is great but quickly disappears at the beginning of sexual intercourse, then it may be a psychological disorder.
If an erection mostly relies on active physical stimulation and disappears immediately after its suspension, then the reason most likely has a physical nature.
If an erection occurs but gradually disappears during the process of intercourse, this can happen because the blood leaves the cavernous bodies of the penis, going the great circle of blood circulation. This process is normal and is not a symptom of the disease.
2. Does the patient wake up with a good erection?
Normally, during a night’s sleep, three or four erections should occur, lasting for approximately 20 minutes each. This happens during the fast sleep phase or the dream phase. If a man notes in his fairly regular night or morning erections – this is a reliable sign of the safety of the erectile mechanism and its ability to function normally. Otherwise, you should be on your guard and continue the examination.
3. Does the occurrence of an erection depend on the situation?
By answering this question, you should understand which external factors or medical problems affect erectile function. After all, it is perfectly normal to experience difficulties due to fatigue, stress or anxiety regarding sexual abilities.
4. Does the partner help and how useful is her/his assistance?
If an erection occurs only as a result of the additional stimulation that the partner provides, then he is healthy, and it is all fine with his sexual function. The need for stimulation is entirely normal and common in adulthood.
On the other hand, if an erection does not occur even after stimulation, this indicates either the presence of medical problems or a high level of anxiety blocking natural sexual reactions.
5. Does an erection occur during masturbation?
If it is possible to achieve a good erection with the help of masturbation, this proves that everything is all right with sexual reactions. Masturbation alone creates the ideal conditions for testing the health of the reproductive system because it eliminates unnecessary anxiety and embarrassment that arises in the presence of a partner.
If the test results are satisfactory, but in the process of sexual intercourse a man is experiencing difficulties, two reasons can explain this. The first is that anxiety about sexual ability, anger or resentment blocks the normal flow of sexual reactions. Another reason is that a woman does not know what sexual stimulation her partner needs.
6. Is there a connection between erectile dysfunction and emotionally traumatic situation?
The cause of dysfunction can be a stressful situation. In this case, erection difficulties are part of the body’s natural response. Unfortunately, the first failures can trigger the development of anxiety regarding sexual abilities, which will later become the leading cause of erectile dysfunction.
7. Does the patient suffering from erectile dysfunction have depression?
Depression is a common cause of sexual dysfunctions. If a person is saddened, pessimistic and exhausted, and has a sleep or appetite disturbance, then sexual problems are just another symptom of depression.
8. How does the patient react to this problem? How does the partner respond?
If the partner is able to support and help in difficult times, and the patient responds to erection difficulties easily, anxiety doesn’t play a crucial role in this situation. Otherwise, it is an emotional reaction that can worsen the situation.
9. Does the patient take medications that can cause erection problems?
Many drugs have a negative effect on sexual function. However, taking such medications may not be the only cause of dysfunction.
If the symptom is of great concern, the patient should visit a doctor. At the same time try to exclude stress factors from his life. Proper rest and good sleep can bring the state of the body in order if the cause of erectile dysfunction lies in the emotional reaction.
For a more accurate diagnosis, and to the correct choice of treatment method, a full medical examination is required. It is also necessary to exclude diabetes that can cause sexual problems.
Indeed, erectile dysfunction can be an early symptom of many diseases. Therefore, the patient should not rely on himself only. An experienced doctor will correctly estimate the problem and prescribe a treatment that will return the patient to a full-fledged sex life.