Erectile dysfunction or male impotence is the persistent and recurrent inability to get or keep an erection of the penis firm enough for satisfactory intercourse for at least three months. The condition is not considered normal at any age. It is a type of dysfunction. One in ten males is estimated to have an erection problem on a long term basis. It can become a cause of concern as it is often seen to affect the self confidence adversely and can even lead to relationship problems. In addition, it can be a sign of underlying health issues and a risk factor for cardiac disease.
Erection of the penis is done by two mechanisms that relax the primary erectile tissue of the penis and causes penile erection:-
- The reflex erection achieved by directly stroking or touching the penile shaft: It involves peripheral nerves and lower parts of the spinal cord.
- Psychogenic erection achieved by erotic stimuli: It involves the limbic system of the brain.
In order to achieve an erection three conditions are required:-
- Intact nerves of the penis.
- Adequate blood circulation to the penis.
- Stimulation from the brain.
Additionally, adequate levels of testosterone which is produced by testes and healthy pituitary gland are required for the development of the healthy erectile system.
Any factor that interferes with any or all of these conditions will prevent a full erection.
CAUSES OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Factors that can cause erectile dysfunction are:-
PHYSICAL CAUSES –These can be identified in 80 percent of the cases and includes:-
Vascular Diseases – These are the diseases affecting the blood vessels. They restrict the blood flow to the penis and account for 70 percent of the physical related causes of ED. It includes atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, hypertension and high cholesterol. Out of this, atherosclerosis alone accounts for 50-60 percent of ED cases especially in men over the age of 60 years.
- Diabetes – By causing nerve and artery damage, diabetes causes ED in about 35-50 percent of cases.
- Kidney Diseases- By causing chemical changes that affect hormones, circulation, nerve function and energy levels, kidney diseases lead to lower libido.
- Neurological Diseases – Like stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and spinal cord injuries by interrupting the nerve impulse transmission between the brain and penis cause ED.
- Medications- There are more than 200 types of prescription drugs that can cause ED. Medications used for the treatment of kidney diseases can also cause ED.
- Operation for prostate, bladder and colon cancer.
- Peyronie’s disease causing scar tissue in penis.
- Injury to the penis
- Chronic illness
- Venous leak- If the veins in the penis fail to prevent blood from leaving the penis during an erection an erection cannot be maintained. Such venous leak can arise from injury, disease or stress.
- Alcohol, tobacco and drugs abuse by damaging the blood vessels and/or restrict the blood flow to the penis and can cause ED
2. PSYCHOLOGICAL CAUSES– These can be identified in about 10 percent cases and includes factors such as stress, depression and performance anxiety.
DIAGNOSIS OF MALE IMPOTENCY
In general a physical examination of the penis and testicles and checking of nerves for sensation along with medical history are required to diagnose erectile dysfunction. In order to rule out the presence of any underlying condition involved the doctor may in addition ask for the following tests:
- Blood tests- To rule out presence of diabetes, cardiac disease, low testosterone and other health condition.
- Urine tests- to rule out presence of diabetes
- Ultrasound to detect any problem in the blood vessels of the penis.
- Psychological exam- to rule out depression or any other psychological cause of erectile dysfunction.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT OF MALE IMPOTENCY
Failure to achieve an erection less than 20 percent of the time is quiet common among adult males and rarely requires treatment. However if the failure to achieve an erection during intercourse is more than 50 percent it generally means there is some underlying psychological or physical or even a combination of both that requires treatment.
Homeopathy plays a significant role in effectively treating male impotency without causing any side effects. The best homeopathic medicine for male impotency is the one most similar to the disease manifestation. For this, a homeopathic doctor takes a detailed case record of every patient to elicit symptoms belonging to both mental and physical spheres.
Commonly indicated homeopathic medicines for male impotency are:-
Agnus Castus- It is indicated for male impotency with cold sensation in the penis. It may be associated with yellow discharge from the urethra and cold, swollen, hard and painful testicles. Problems with erection arise in males with a history of abuse of intercourse power or had a history of frequent attacks of gonorrhea. As a person, they have corresponding mental depression and self-contempt with the impression of speedy death and loss of intercourse desire. They become absentminded and have reduced the power of insight. They also have problems with memory and concentration and have to read a sentence twice before they can comprehend.
Caladium- It is indicated in males who have impotency despite having intercourse interest. They may have erections when half asleep but no erection when fully awake. As a person, the patient who needs this remedy has a craving for tobacco. They have a sweet sweat that attracts flies and insects bites burn and itch intensely.
Lycopodium Clavatum- It is indicated for erectile dysfunction in males who lack self-confidence despite the ability to perform well present, though some may act haughtily to overcompensate. They may have impotency due to worry with a constant fear of breaking down under stress. They tend to have a digestive problem with gas and bloating that tends to aggravate between 4-8 pm. They are also commonly found to have a craving for sweets and warm food.
Selenium- It is indicated in males who have impotency despite intercourse desire present. They may have lascivious fancies with dribbling of semen in sleep. They tend to have this problem after exhausting disease. As a person, they feel quickly exhausted mentally and physically and may have a desire for brandy or other strong drinks. Unusual loss of hair from the body or eyebrows may also be present.
Argentum Nitricum- It is indicated in people who fail to have an erection when coition is attempted mainly due to anticipatory anxiety. They tend to have an urge to pass stools before leaving home for any appointment or before exams. They are usually very hurried in their movements and speech and tend to reach for an appointment before time. As a person, they have a liking for both sweets and salty food items even though sweets tend to cause indigestion in such people.
Staphysagria- It is indicated in males for impotency as a result of frequent masturbation. They may have impotency due to embarrassment or shyness. As a person, they are gentle-natured and quiet men with very sensitive feelings and deep emotions.