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How Do I Know If I Have Erectile Dysfunction? Here Are The Symptoms You Need To Look For

UPGUYS > Blog > Sex > How Do I Know if I Have Erectile Dysfunction? Here Are the Symptoms You Need to Look For
The person who wrote this article

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on March 03, 2022

Are you showing symptoms of erectile dysfunction? It's one of the common male health problems for Canadian men over 40. Chronic erectile dysfunction affects over three million Canadian men yearly.

Despite how common erectile dysfunction is, many men find it uncomfortable to talk about. But, taking care of your overall male health includes discussing your sexual health. There is no shame in experiencing erectile dysfunction and speaking with your doctor is essential to solving the cause of the symptoms.

Now, you're probably wondering, How do I know if I have erectile dysfunction? In this article, we explain:

  1. What erectile dysfunction is
  2. What the symptoms of erectile dysfunction are
  3. Some common causes of erectile dysfunction
  4. What to do if you show symptoms of erectile dysfunction
  5. Key takeaways

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

According to the Canadian Urological Association, erectile dysfunction is "the inability to achieve or maintain an erection" for a satisfying sexual performance. While some sexual activities are possible without an erection, sexual intercourse often requires maintaining an erection for an orgasm. Research shows that having orgasms is beneficial for overall male health.

These benefits include:

  1. stress and pain relief
  2. living longer
  3. increase brain function
  4. decreased risk of prostate cancer

Most men will experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction at some point in their life. Erectile dysfunction (ED) was previously described as impotence. And, having trouble keeping a hard erection is expected from time to time.

The inability to keep a hard erection until ejaculation becomes a concern when it is frequent, AKA chronic erectile dysfunction, often causes secondary conditions with self-confidence. Sometimes chronic erectile dysfunction affects personal relationships as well.

Sudden ED is often a sign of other underlying health conditions. Speak with your doctor to check your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease.

Erectile dysfunction is "the inability to achieve or maintain an erection" for a satisfying sexual performance.

How Do I Know If I Have Erectile Dysfunction?

Often the first indication of ED that a man notices is his inability to keep a hard erection during sexual activity. This makes having fulfilling sexual intercourse difficult. Some men get an erection but can't seem to ejaculate.

Getting and maintaining an erection becomes more complex as men age. While most erectile dysfunction symptoms are found in men over the age of 40, younger men also struggle with this part of sexual health. Usually, any chronic erectile dysfunction symptoms develop over time.

Risk factors for erectile dysfunction include:

  1. Aging
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cardiovascular disease
  4. Smoking
  5. Obesity
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Drugs and alcohol abuse
  8. Pelvic trauma (such as surgery)
  9. Depression

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

There are common symptoms of erectile dysfunction that aren't as obvious as struggling with a soft penis. Male sexual function is a complex system within the body. The nervous system, brain, muscles, and circulatory system all work together to achieve an erection and orgasm.

Here are some familiar symptoms Canadian men often look to seek relief from:

Struggling to Get an Erection

When sexual arousal happens, the nerves in your body release chemicals to send more blood into your penis. The penis consists of a spongy muscle. These muscles are relaxed during an erection and keep the increased blood within their chambers.

When the body struggles to get an erection, there are a few potential causes.

  1. Not Enough Blood: a lack of sufficient blood flow is often caused by blocked arteries, diabetes, smoking, heart disease
  2. Can't Trap Blood: the penile muscles can't relax to allow increased blood flow
  3. No Nerve Signals: a lack of sufficient signals to relax muscles is often caused by surgery, disease, trauma
  4. Medication: side effects due to medications or supplements

Struggling to Maintain an Erection

Struggling to maintain an erection is often caused by the same conditions that keep the penis soft despite arousal and stimulation. Blood flow and nerve signals are factors often involved in losing your erection. Psychological causes such as performance anxiety contribute to not maintaining a hard enough erection for sexual intercourse.

Inability to Ejaculate Before Losing Erection

Sexual male health problems with erectile dysfunction include the inability to ejaculate. Often, the intensity of the erection fades when this part of orgasm is incomplete. Overall sexual male health and arousal is a complex process of libido, orgasm, and ejaculation.

The male orgasm is a four-part experience. And, it is possible for some men to experience orgasm without ejaculating, called a dry orgasm. Many men with erectile dysfunction can't feel the emotional response or physical release before losing their erection.

The four parts of the male orgasm:

  1. Part 1 Arousal: physical and psychological cues trigger extra penile blood flow
  2. Part 2 Plateau: the 30 seconds to two minutes before orgasm
  3. Part 3 Orgasm: two events; activation of the brain's pleasure center and the physical ejaculation of semen
  4. Part 4 Refraction: after ejaculation, erection subsides

Both physical and psychological conditions contribute to the inability to ejaculate before losing an erection. Many medications are proven to affect this aspect of overall male health. Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.

No More Desire for Sexual Activities

Since arousal is the first step in achieving male orgasm, chronic erectile dysfunction occurs when desire is lost. Libido is much more than wanting sexual intercourse. Desire and intimacy require trust, communication, and feeling stress-free.

Psychological factors significantly impact male health problems. But, erectile dysfunction caused by lack of desire should examine all these factors for causes:

  1. Relationship Stresses: stale sex life, frequent fighting, lack of trust
  2. Anxiety and Depression: diet, lack of sleep, and sadness affect libido
  3. Hormones: decrease in testosterone due to aging
  4. Health Conditions: thyroid issues affect hormone production
  5. Medication: check side effects to see if they affect libido
  6. Substance Use: drugs and alcohol impact sex drive

Is Erectile Dysfunction Physical or Psychological?

As we've discussed, there are many symptoms of erectile dysfunction to consider. Both physical and psychological factors contribute to symptoms of chronic erectile dysfunction. The most common physical causes of ED were previously discussed in this article.

And while age is the number one risk factor, there are others to discuss with your medical professional. Let's look at the psychological causes for both chronic and sudden ED.

Psychological Erectile Dysfunction

The most common form of psychological erectile dysfunction is known as sexual performance anxiety. Emotions are crucial to satisfying sexual experiences, including getting aroused and experiencing orgasm. Anxiety and stress significantly impact the ability to achieve fulfilling sexual intercourse and other sexual activity.

Performance anxiety looks like this:

  1. a fear your performance won't feel good to your partner
  2. thinking your body is unattractive
  3. thinking your penis isn't a good size or shape
  4. over concern about premature ejaculation

Anxiety causes the body to release stress hormones. Stress hormones cause the blood vessels in the penis to narrow. This means less blood fills the genitals, leaving a limp or flaccid penis.

Even when an erection is possible, stress and anxiety about how the sexual encounter is going can impede orgasm. Counselling and medications are effective treatments for this kind of erectile dysfunction.

I've Got Symptoms of ED. Now What?

Sexual health is complex, and male health problems are nothing to be ashamed of. If you are experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction, reach out to a trusted doctor. ED is common, and nothing you can share about your sexual history or symptoms will surprise them.

There are tested and safe medications to help men with erectile dysfunction. There are also lifestyle choices that impact overall male health. For a harder and longer-lasting erection, put these tips into practice:

  1. Practice Mindfulness: reducing stress is proven to improve sexual health
  2. Boost Self-Esteem: participate in counselling or join a sports team
  3. Healthy Diet: diets that are good for heart health and improve sexual health
  4. Sleep and Exercise: ensure adequate physical activity and enough sleep
  5. Hydrate: keep your overall male health strong with sufficient water
  6. Start Walking: 30-minutes a day drops risk for ED by 41%

Key Takeaways

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction are common in Canadian men. Both psychological and physical factors contribute to causes. Luckily, treatments and lifestyle changes are available to overcome chronic erectile dysfunction.

  1. Contact a doctor
  2. Make at-home lifestyle changes
  3. Reduce stress and anxiety
  4. Get checked for underlying health conditions

This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.