What You Should Know About Erectile Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition characterized by the regular inability to initiate and sustain an erection for sexual intercourse. It is also known as impotence and is a common condition. In Canada, about 49% of men aged 40 – 88 experience ED.

As one of the most common and seemingly embarrassing sex-related conditions for men, ED could cause self-esteem issues and relationship problems. It is not unusual for persons experiencing the condition to prefer to suffer in silence over seeking medical care. Thankfully, it is nearly always treatable, as long as the underlying conditions can be identified and addressed accordingly.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction in Canada?

Male erection is a complex process that involves different systems. The hormones, blood vessels, and nerves play important roles in the engorgement of the penis. A problem in any of the systems and organs involved in erection can cause erectile dysfunction.

The penis becomes erect when the muscles relax and blood flows into the penile vessels. A rush of hormones is also associated with this process, which can be initiated by thoughts or stimulation.

Causes of ED can be both physical and psychological. Although it is normal to experience failure to maintain an erection occasionally, the result may be attributed to ED when the inability is consistent.

Physical causes are: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone imbalances, kidney disease, age, drug or alcohol use and abuse, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or Peyronie’s disease, injury, or surgery.

Psychological causes include: stress, anxiety, and depression.


What Are the Symptoms of ED?

The most common symptom of ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. Other associated symptoms include:

  • Premature or delayed ejaculation
  • Failure to climax after ample stimulation
  • Decreased sex drive

These symptoms are indicative of underlying conditions that could be managed if identified and addressed. If you have experienced any of these symptoms regularly for a period of three months or longer, you should contact a personal health care practitioner.


How Is ED Treated?

The treatment of ED typically focuses on the management of the underlying conditions, which could be treated with medication or counselling. In many cases of ED in Canada, implementing treatment for the underlying conditions is all it takes to relieve their symptoms.

In some cases, other treatments of ED symptoms are needed. These treatments include:

  • Exercises such as Kegels, cardiovascular exercise and yoga
  • Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, lowering alcohol intake, and eating a healthier diet with fewer red meats, sugar, and dairy
  • Introducing herbal products like asparagus, DHEA, ginseng, L-arginine, L-carnitine, Horny goat weed, and zinc

Note: The use of herbal products is typically guided by a medical practitioner, to avoid possible side effects.

  • Acupuncture or massage
  • Surgery including arterial repair or a prosthesis
  • Medications such as Sildenafil (Viagra), Vardenafil, Tadalafil (Cialis) or Avanafil (Stendra). Note: These medications should only be taken if and how prescribed by a healthcare professional, as they may have adverse side effects
  • Hormone replacement therapy


ED is a common condition that may often be treated by healthcare practitioners. Seeking medical care is the first step to effectively managing erectile dysfunction. Medical treatment is not only important for its direct benefits from the management of the condition, but also for the identification and management of the underlying issues.

Getting to the root of ED is important for optimal physical, mental, and emotional health. If you think that you'd benefit from an assessment with Truman to explore possible treatment options, get started today.


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