Most men have occasional erectile problems. However, some people have erectile dysfunction, so, have difficulty getting or keeping an erection that is sufficient for sex.
If you have erectile dysfunction, you may think that a testosterone treatment would help you. Testosterone is a male sex hormone. After age 50, testosterone levels gradually decline in men and erectile dysfunction becomes more common. Unless you have other signs and symptoms of low testosterone, you should think twice before receiving this treatment. Here’s why:
Testosterone treatment does not always resolve erectile dysfunction.
Testosterone treatment does not improve erections in men who have normal testosterone levels. In addition, recent studies have shown that it is not always useful in men who have testosterone deficiency if erectile dysfunction is the only symptom.
Erectile dysfunction is usually linked to other causes.
Erectile dysfunction is usually caused by a decrease in blood flow to the penis or a problem affecting the nerves that cause the erection. These phenomena result from other health problems such as hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. These diseases help to narrow the blood vessels and reduce the blood supply to the penis or damage the nerves that cause the erection.
Low testosterone can interfere with sexual desire, but usually does not cause erectile dysfunction.
Testosterone treatment is not safe.
Testosterone treatment can lead to fluid retention in the body. It can also cause acne and enlargement of the prostate and breasts. Other side effects include decreased fertility, increased red blood cell counts that can lead to heart disease, worsening sleep apnea symptoms, and increased risk of developing cancer. The prostate grows faster.
Women and children should avoid touching the spot on a man’s skin where he has applied testosterone-containing gel, if the skin is uncovered and has not been washed since application. The gel can be transferred by skin contact.
When should you consider a testosterone treatment for erectile dysfunction?
If you have difficulty getting an erection for more than three months, talk to your doctor. He will ask you about all of your symptoms and will examine you.
Signs and symptoms of low testosterone include decreased sexual desire, hair loss, and breast growth, decreased need for shaving, decreased muscle volume and strength, and increased risk of fractures. In some cases, the volume of the testes decreases.
If you experience some of these symptoms, your doctor may ask you to have blood tests to measure your testosterone levels. The analysis should be repeated and it is best to do it in the morning, when the testosterone levels are the highest.
If tests show that your testosterone levels are low, your doctor will need to check for possible causes, for example, a problem with the pituitary gland.
If no other cause is found, you can try a testosterone treatment.
How to treat erectile dysfunction?
Most erection problems can be treated. Discuss with your doctor the following solutions:
Look for medical causes. Erectile dysfunction can be a harbinger of a more serious illness, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. The treatment of the problem will improve your overall health and the quality of your erections.
Review the list of your medications. Erectile dysfunction can be a side effect of many medications, including medications to treat hypertension, depression, anxiety, heartburn, allergies, pain, convulsions and cancer. If a medicine is the cause of your erectile dysfunction, your doctor may change the dose or replace it with another one.
Improve your lifestyle. Some unhealthy habits can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Exercise regularly, lose excess weight, quit, consume less alcohol and do not use drugs.
Consider taking a medication to improve erections. Some drugs increase penile blood flow if taken one hour before intercourse. These are sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis). Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of these medications. They are to be avoided if you are taking nitrated medicines, such as nitroglycerin tablets for a heart problem. Together, they can cause sudden drops in blood pressure.
Ask for help in case of emotional distress. Usually, erectile dysfunction has a physical cause that can be treated. However, depression, performance anxiety, and couple problems can also cause or aggravate erectile dysfunction. A therapy, alone or with your partner, could help you. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist.