Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a medical condition where a man is consistently unable to achieve and maintain an erection that allows for satisfactory sexual function.
Erectile dysfunction is very common.
A recent study shows that nearly 50% of Canadian men over 40 years of age experience some symptoms of this condition.
Pollock Clinics offers rapid access to the latest innovative ED treatments at our clinics serving greater Vancouver and all of BC.
No doctor’s referral is needed and you can request an appointment online directly.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
When a man becomes aroused, the brain releases a neurochemical to increase the size of blood vessels carrying blood to the penis and reduce the size of the vessels that carry it out.
Twin compartments that run the length of the penis, called corpora cavernosa, become flush with blood that is trapped in the shaft. This causes the penis to stiffen and become erect.
If blood flow to the penis is inhibited or the blood vessels are clogged or constricted, erection cannot be achieved or maintained.
This is one of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction.
ED is potentially a treatable medical condition and is not related to masculinity or sexual prowess.
Men who have ED symptoms should consult with a doctor.
Risk Factors for ED
Aging is a key contributor in the development of erectile dysfunction.
- Vascular causes account for up to 70% of cases of erectile dysfunction.
- High cholesterol and the buildup of arterial plaque over time cause blood vessels to narrow, lessening the capability of your circulatory system.
- Risk of heart disease and diabetes also increase with age which can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction.
- Men’s testosterone levels naturally decline at a rate of 1% a year, starting in a man’s thirties.
Lifestyle choices and health conditions which can also contribute include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet and blood sugar control
- Chronic alcohol/substance abuse
Men with healthier lifestyles – no tobacco, less sitting, more exercise, and who maintain a healthy weight – typically have a lower risk of erectile dysfunction than other men in the same age group.
Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction
Symptoms of ED can include:
- Erections are hard to get
- Erections are less rigid
- Erections are not satisfactory for penetration
- Erections cannot be maintained during sexual activity or until the man’s orgasm is reached
- Erections cannot be achieved at all
Men with ED can lose confidence in their sexual ability and their overall sense of self-worth can be negatively affected.
Erectile dysfunction can have a devastating psychological impact for individuals and couples.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
In the majority of cases, erectile dysfunction occurs when blood flow to the penis is inhibited either by cardiovascular problems or poor nerve signalling. Healthy arousal engorges the penile tubes (corpora cavernosum) with arterial blood causing it to stiffen and become erect. The engorged corpora occlude the venous outflow of blood, creating a rigid or full erection. Erection dysfunction occurs when there is either poor influx of arterial blood or efflux of venous blood (venous leak).
While both psychological and biological factors can cause erectile dysfunction, in reality the mind and body work together in sexual arousal, so most men have both factors in varying proportions.
Psychological Causes of ED
Men who suffer from clinical depression, anxiety, chronic stress, or who are experiencing challenges in their relationship with their partner, may have erectile difficulties. Some of the medications that treat depression can also contribute to the problem. The inability to perform sexually can cause further anxiety and depression, creating a downward spiral.
Biological Causes of ED
Health conditions or lifestyle choices that affect blood circulation, structural anomalies in the penis, certain neurological conditions, hormonal deficiencies, and medication side effects, can all contribute to erectile dysfunction. The chart below lays out examples of potential biological reasons for a man’s erectile dysfunction.
|Circulation||Nervous System||Structural||Some Medications|
|Atherosclerosis||Parkinson’s Disease||Peyronie’s Disease||For high blood pressure|
|Diabetes||Multiple Sclerosis||Injury or Trauma to the penis||For anxiety, depression & other psychiatric conditions|
|Stroke||Prostate or Bladder Surgery||Past issues w/ Priapism*||Antidepressants|
|*prolonged erections over 4 hrs||Antihistamines|
Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
ED is a treatable condition and most men are able to return to healthy sexual function.
Many options are available, including first line treatments such as oral pills (Viagra, Cialis and Levitra/Staxyn) and the use of mechanical devices like the vacuum erection device (VED). Second line treatments include penile injections or topical applications with vasoactive medications. Lastly, if reversible treatments fail, penile prosthesis can be surgically implanted by urologists. All of these options just treat the ED without looking at the underlying cause. These treatments can be sought from your family doctor and other specialists.
At the present time, our clinic only offers treatments that may alter or modify the biological and psychological process causing your erectile dysfunction. These include:
- Erectile Dysfunction Shockwave Therapy (EDSWT): ED Shockwave therapy is an innovative medical treatment that uses low intensity acoustic sound waves in an attempt to address the vascular cause of erectile dysfunction, and not just its symptoms, by encouraging the growth of new blood vessels. For over 50 years shockwave therapy has been used to treat everything from kidney stones, to joint pain, and now erectile dysfunction. It is a safe and natural procedure which does not involve the use of pharmaceuticals, mechanical pumps, injections or surgical implants.
- PRP Therapy (Plasma Rich Platelet Injections): PRP therapy is a penile injection intended to improve sexual performance in men through a proposed mechanism that some people believe will promote the regeneration of nerves and blood vessels, thus potentially increasing the amount of blood flow to the penis. In particular, this procedure is designed with the goal to help those who feel their performance has declined due to issues such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, or nerve damage, or other issues related to aging. While the PRP Shot, is a new, regenerative treatment option for erectile dysfunction, Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy (PRP) has for many years been a successful treatment modality in orthopedics, plastic surgery, and sports medicine.
- Sex Therapy: Sex Therapy can help a person or couple overcome a variety of sexual difficulties and challenges that may interfere with the erectile signals to your penis. Sex therapy is often helpful in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, even when physical factors are the principal cause. Sexual difficulties, no matter what the cause, can strain your relationship. Frequently, a man with erectile problems experiences performance anxiety, which makes him reluctant to initiate sexual contact. His partner may perceive this as rejection, which could trigger feelings of frustration and resentment. Sex therapy, with our experienced, certified sex therapist, can help a couple overcome these feelings and re-establish intimacy.
Contact Us for a Confidential Initial Visit
Our team is available for an assessment of your unique situation.
Please contact us today to see what treatment option might benefit you.