Today we’re going to talk about a problem that is all too common, and that is erectile dysfunction. Now here is a situation where we look at the erectile tissue of the penis, and as we know, we don’t walk around with erections all the time or at least most people know. And the reason is the blood flow in the penis. Now this is brought about by switching mechanism. And that switching mechanism is really based on nerves, muscles, and chemistry. The chemistry is what happens at the nerve endings. And we can not only understand, but we can learn to control that chemistry.
Now here is the situation where the various muscle groups within the erectile tissue are in a state where the blood can flow in and flow out and not be contained within the erection body. But under situations of sexual excitement these muscles relax and much like the sales of a ship, catch the wind. In this case the blood is that courses through the erectile tissue are held up. And what happens is that a low-pressure system, which is the blood flowing through easily, turns into a high-pressure system and we recognize that as an erection. Now after time passes the blood will flow away because the muscles relax. And it’s those muscles relaxing that allows this to occur, that we want to understand better. The key here is to control the five faucet phosphodiesterase, and that’s what the medications that you’ve heard so much about recently do, such as Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra.
Now, how common are patients having a problem with erectile dysfunction? Very common. The population of this country is roughly 225 million people and let’s assume half of them are men. About a quarter of that population has this problem. That’s why we hear so much about it; that’s why the industry is so interested in it.
Now there are lots of different causes, but most of the manifest themselves through this chemical reaction. What sets it up for that to occur?
- Health problems, diabetes, heart disease, surgery, prostate cancer or colon cancer that is treated surgically;
- various medications like sedatives, blood pressure medications, pain medications;
- spinal cord injury;
- and maybe even hormone imbalance that relates to either medication is being taken or some disease process.
Now we know that is not a real profound problem if we’re early in our diagnosis and the medications Viagra, Cialis Levitra, can influence that chemical reaction in a way that produces a very good solution for most people. But there are folks that have much more significant problems.
Well, before we go there, what else can we do? There are devices; they’re called vacuum devices. I think they’re really started in gentlemen stores. What they they based on is the penis being entrapped in a tubular structure that generates a vacuum, the blood rushes in, and a ring fits around the bottom of the penis and keeps the blood in place. This is a satisfactory solution for some people but certainly not for all. And as I look at it as a physician who takes care of folks, I see this is somewhat inefficient.