Sometimes men have trouble talking about sexual issues with their doctor. But if you and your partner are struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED), it's important to seek help. Remind him that ED is a medical problem that can be treated.
A treatment for ED will depend on what's causing it. Don't assume it's just part of the normal aging process. That's usually not the case.
Specific causes may include:
High blood pressure and high cholesterol
Diabetes-related injuries to blood vessels and nerves
Alcohol and drug abuse
Reactions to prescription drugs, including antidepressants
Unhealthy habits like smoking, overeating and inactivity
Spinal cord injury
Treatments for prostate cancer
Diseases that affect the nerves, like multiple sclerosis
Reduced levels of testosterone (rare)
Depression and anxiety
Your partner's doctor can offer a number of treatments for ED. You can decide together which treatment fits you best as a couple, which may include:
Lifestyle changes. Exercising, quitting smoking, losing weight and decreasing alcohol use may help to alleviate ED.
Counseling. In addition to treating the physical cause, counseling can help couples handle the emotional stress of ED.
Medication. Prescription drugs that increase the blood flow to the penis to facilitate an erection may be an option for treating the physical cause of ED.
Other treatment options. Injections, vacuum devices or penile implants may help men when other options fail.