Erectile dysfunction, or ED, isn’t just about sex. It can be a red flag for a number of medical conditions and shouldn’t be ignored, experts say.
“New onset of erection problems is often an early sign of cardiovascular disease,” says urologist Daniel Shoskes, MD. “Erectile dysfunction can signal compromised blood flow in other parts of the body.”
That’s why, he says, even if you’re not bothered by it or don’t want treatment, you need to tell your doctor about any ED issues.
Of course, besides medical conditions, there are other possible causes for ED:
“There is no stringent guideline about when erectile dysfunction becomes a problem,” Dr. Shoskes says.
“It is more about the degree of bother for the patient. But if you feel your ability to get and maintain an erection and have sex comfortably is compromised, you should come in for an assessment,” he says. “If a man wants to have better erections and intercourse, we can make it happen in just about any man.”
Multiple treatment options are available, and your doctor will work with you to find something that works for your lifestyle. Treatment options include:
“ED isn’t always caused by a medical issue,” Dr. Shoskes says. “Sometimes it is a psycho-emotional issue, but we often use pills to treat it anyway because they are safe and effective for a wide swath of the population.”