What Is Erection Issues? Surprisingly, Doctors Don’t Agree
Up to 50 million American men are believed to experience erection issues, or ED. Medical experts believe that nearly half of all men aged 40 to 70 will develop loss of erection at some point in life. Clearly, ED is not a rare problem, yet many men feel isolated when they experience problems with sexual functioning. The American Medical Association (AMA) defines ED very simply as “difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.”
While the AMA’s definition is straightforward and widely accepted, other experts and groups differ in their definition of what constitutes loss of erection. When you look at the many definitions of erection loss, it becomes apparent that the condition is not as well defined as you might expect. This article will discuss some of the differing definitions of loss of erections.
The Cleveland Clinic
Founded in 1921, the Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center in Cleveland, Ohio that performs wide-ranging research as well as providing clinical and hospital care. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Erection difficulties is the inability to develop and maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse or activity in the absence of an ejaculatory disorder such as premature ejaculation.”
Rather than using the commonly used term “impotence,” the Cleveland Clinic says that there are no universal criteria for the clinical definition for loss of erection problems in terms of
- How consistent the problem is
- For how long it must be present
However, they do give a general guideline that if symptoms of loss of erection issues persist for longer than three months, the problem may require medical treatment. Fortunately, there are many medical treatments for loss of erection problems, and a number of lifestyle changes can significantly improve sexual function in men with loss of erection difficulties.
The Mayo Clinic
The highly respected non-profit Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota has a slightly different definition for ED:
“Loss of Erection Issues (impotence) occurs when a man can no longer get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, having trouble with achieving or maintaining an erection only on occasion does not necessarily mean that a man has ED. The clinic acknowledges that an ongoing problem with ED can result in stress, lack of confidence, and relationship difficulties.
Furthermore, the Mayo Clinic states that men who are able to obtain erections at some times, like during sleep when psychological issues may be less pressing, suggests that the physical structures in the reproductive organs are most likely working properly. They go on to state that ED may be caused by psychological problems like anxiety or depression, by physical problems like obesity or diabetes, or a combination of factors.The Vascular Erection Difficulties Intervention Clinic
The Vascular Erectile Dysfunction Intervention Clinic
(VEDI Clinic), located in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland, defines ED as follows: “Erection issues (ED) is defined as a permanent inability to obtain or maintain erection for sexual intercourse.”
In other words, ED is a condition apart from the occasional inability to obtain an erection. The VEDI Clinic goes on to state that ED often coexists with other, more general health concerns like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
What Differences in Definition Mean for You
While the Cleveland Clinic has a more general definition for loss of erection issues, and the VEDI clinic has a very specific definition (in that it defines it as a “permanent inability” to function sexually), the takeaway for men who may be concerned about having ED is that the condition is a personalized experience. How a 70-year-old man with low testosterone experiences loss of erection problems may be very different from how a 30-year-old man with diabetes experiences it.
Medical authorities generally agree that while medications like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra allow more blood to flow to the sexual organs so that an erection can be achieved, if there are underlying health problems that contribute to loss of erection issues, like heart disease or diabetes, treating these underlying conditions is very important too. Anecdotal evidence abounds that men who improve their overall health by losing excess weight, exercising, and eating properly can expect better results in the bedroom as well, whether or not they take a drug prescribed for loss of erection issues.
Directions in ED Clinical Research
Medical experts may have differing definitions for loss of erection issues, but they agree that the problem is common, and that it can seriously compromise a man’s quality of life. Evidence that medical professionals take loss of erection issues seriously can be found by noting the many clinical trials going on around the world concerning treatment of loss of erection issues. Here are just a few current clinical trials concerning ED research.
- Huntsville, Alabama Medical Affiliated Research Center is studying the effectiveness of a treatment called POMx on ED.
- West Coast Clinical Research in Tarzana, California is conducting a double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the use of a drug called Tadalafil on ED sufferers with prostate enlargement.
- Aventura, Florida’s South Florida Medical Research is studying once-daily medication for men age 18 and older with ED and whether such a treatment program helps men return to having normal erectile functioning.
- Chesapeake Urology Research Associates in Baltimore, Maryland is studying the efficacy of a drug called Alfuzosin in men with ED.
- Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel is conducting a double-blind placebo controlled study on a technique called extracorporal shock wave therapy for treatment of ED.
- SK Chemicals Co., Ltd. in Seoul, South Korea is studying the efficacy and safety of a substance called SK3530 for ED.
- Yuhan Corporation of Seoul, South Korea is studying the substance YHD1023 for treating ED.
- Hospital General de Occidente in Guadalajara, Mexico is studying the effectiveness of testosterone undecanoate in men who have ED due to low testosterone.
- Studies in Turkish cities Ankara, Istanbul, and Mersin are evaluating safety and effectiveness of the drug Udenafil for treating ED.
The Future of ED Treatment
Despite having differing definitions of what exactly erection issues is, medical experts the world over agree that it is a condition that should be taken seriously because of its effects on men’s quality of life as well as links with other underlying medical conditions. Today’s drugs for treating ED have improved the lives of millions of men, but there may be even better treatments on the horizon. Men who experience loss of erection issues should know that they are not alone, treatment is available, and they can most likely enjoy an active sex life with proper medical treatment of loss of erection issues.