More men than ever before are struggling with erectile dysfunction, and researchers believe that the numbers aren’t going to decrease anytime soon.
In fact, it’s been projected that globally, 322 million men will experience erectile dysfunction by the year 2025.
Many people think that ED is merely a symptom of aging. This definitely isn’t the case, though. There are a number of conditions that can contribute to ED. These conditions can be both physical and psychological.
If you’re not sure how to know if ED is physical or psychological, keep reading. Listed below are some important differences and symptoms to watch out for.
Physical Causes of ED
There are a number of physical health problems that can lead to erectile dysfunction. Some of the most well-known causes include:
- Heart disease
- A blockage or blockages in the blood vessels
- High cholesterol
- Elevated pressure
- Obesity and/or metabolic syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Use or abuse of certain prescription medications
- Tobacco use
- Peyronie’s disease (a disease that involves the development of scar tissue inside of the penis)
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Sleep disorders
Some treatments for prostate cancer or prostate enlargement can also contribute to ED. Surgery on or an injury to the pelvis or spinal cord may also be a cause.
Psychological Causes of ED
If someone is struggling with erectile dysfunction, it’s easy to assume that the cause is physical. However, there are also psychological disorders that can contribute to the development of ED.
Some well-known psychological causes include:
- Chronic stress
- Relationship difficulties, especially those related to stress or problems communicating
- Low self-esteem
- Performance anxiety
Many men who view pornography on a regular basis may also struggle with erectile dysfunction.
When men are addicted to pornography, they may begin to develop unrealistic expectations regarding sex and their partner. This, in turn, can cause them to have a hard time attaining or maintaining an erection when they’re not able to view pornography.
If erectile dysfunction is related to regular pornography viewing, it is often referred to as porn-induced erectile dysfunction.
How to Know if ED is Physical or Psychological
Before you search for treatment for ED, you need to determine whether it’s rooted in a physical problem or a psychological problem (or both).
In order to get to the root of the issue and determine its cause, you’ll need to schedule an appointment to see your doctor. It can be awkward or embarrassing to talk about ED, but your doctor needs this information in order to help you get the treatment you need.
To determine the cause of your ED, your doctor will perform a series of tests along with an interview, which might include the following:
Questions About Your Medical and Sexual History
This isn’t technically a test. But, it’s where most physicians will start before they try to treat erectile dysfunction.
Your doctor will want to know about your medical and sexual history so they can start trying to figure out what’s causing your ED.
Your doctor may ask about the medications you take and any surgeries you’ve had performed in the past. They will also likely ask about your relationships and your relationship satisfaction.
After getting some information on your medical and sexual history, your doctor will perform a basic physical exam. He or she will check your heart rate and blood pressure. They’ll also check your penis and testicles to ensure they’re healthy.
They may look for signs of hormonal imbalances, too, such as hair loss or enlarged breasts.
During the physical exam, your doctor might perform some blood and urine tests to check for conditions like diabetes and heart disease, which can cause when left untreated ED.
Overnight Erection Tests
To help you determine whether your ED is physical or psychological, your doctor might have you perform an overnight erection test. Men typically have several erections while they’re sleeping at night.
To test and see if this is the case for you, the doctor will have you place a device around the penis before you go to sleep. The device measures the number of erections you have, as well as the strength of those erections.
If the device shows that you can get erections while sleeping, this is often an indicator that the cause is a psychological issue rather than a physical one.
If it seems that your ED is caused by psychological issues, your doctor may perform a more in-depth series of mental health tests to screen for depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. They may also refer you to a psychologist or counselor.
This test involves the injection of medication into the base of the penis. If this medicine does not cause you to have an erection, there’s a chance that your ED is caused by a lack of blood flow to the penis.
Doctors may use an ultrasound device after administering the injection to check for blood vessel blockages.
How to Treat ED
Whether your ED is brought on by a physical issue or a psychological one, there are many different treatment options that you can utilize. Some of the most common ED treatments include:
- Oral medications like Viagra or Cialis
- Injectable medications
- Suppository medications
- Mental health counseling
- Penis pumps
- Penile implants
Lifestyle changes can also have a significant impact on one’s sexual health and ability to get an erection.
Your doctor may recommend you change your diet, exercise regularly, and give up unhealthy habits like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or recreational drug use.
Start Treating ED Today
Now that you’re aware of how to know if ED is physical or psychological, you can make more informed, empowered decisions about your own sexual health.
If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, these treatment guidelines can help you manage your symptoms and improve your health and quality of life. One of the easiest and most effective treatment options is to use an oral medication like Viagra or Cialis.
If you’re interested in giving one of these medications a try, we can help.
Contact us today to order medication from home and have it delivered right to your door. When you order with us, we’ll give you your first dose free, too!