All You Need To Know About Erectile Dysfunction

February 16, 2024

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It’s sometimes referred to as “impotence,” but this term is now used less often.

ED can occur because of problems at any stage of the erection process, and it can be occasional or frequent:

  • Occasional ED isn’t uncommon. Many people experience it during times of stress or as the result of a recent nutritional or lifestyle change.
  • Frequent EDs, however, can be a sign of health problems that need treatment. It can also be a symptom of emotional or relationship difficulties you may want to address with a professional.

Why Can’t I Keep an Erection?

Most cases of ED are caused by physical problems alone or in combination with emotional ones.

Just about any medical condition that affects your nerves or blood vessels could hurt your ability to have erections. High blood pressure, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, and diabetes can all lead to ED. Over 50% of men with diabetes find themselves in that situation.

Hormonal issues such as low testosterone levels can also factor in, more often for older men. Prostate cancer treatments, including surgery and radiation, may be the culprit.

If you have erections in the morning or while sleeping, the problem probably isn’t physical. Stress, anxiety, and depression can cause ED, too.

What Age Does ED Usually Start?

Though not everyone develops ED as they age, being older is one of the most common risk factors for the condition.

By the time a man reaches his 40s, he has about a 40% chance of developing some form of ED.

After age 40, the risk increases by about 10% each decade.

How Long Can the Average Man Stay Erect Without Touching?

There is no universal set time for the length of sexual activities or how long a penis should remain erect. Typically, an average erection may last from a few minutes to roughly half an hour. However, this can vary significantly due to the many factors that can affect erection duration.

People may worry that they are on either end of the spectrum and that their erection lasts either too long or not long enough.

In some cases, a person may have difficulty getting an erection, having a firm erection, or maintaining one long enough for satisfactory sex. Physical or psychological factors can contribute to ED.

How Can I Regain My Full Erectile Strength?

1. Stop smoking

As several clinical studies have found, men who smoke increase their likelihood of developing erectile problems.

Smoking can contribute to the buildup of fat stores in the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can limit the flow of blood to the penis. The arteries surrounding the penis are particularly small, so it is essential that they remain clear to achieve a healthy, strong erection.

2. Maintain a healthy diet

What you eat and whether you’re overweight have a direct impact on your erectile health.

Consuming a load of high-salt foods and saturated fats in great measure can lead to a whole host of health problems, from high blood pressure to high cholesterol and weight gain. All of these risk factors increase your likelihood of developing cardiovascular problems, which will directly affect the blood flow reaching your penis.

Weight gain itself can trigger psychological problems, such as poor body image and low self-esteem, which can contribute to erectile problems.

Learn more about balancing your meals and your portion sizes.

3. Reduce alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol can lead to temporary bouts of erectile dysfunction, although chronic abuse of alcohol could make this a more long-term problem.

Alcohol can make it difficult for the tissue surrounding your penis to relax, meaning your erection will receive less blood flow.

4. Diabetes and ED

Long-term uncontrolled blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves linked to erectile function. Men with diabetes commonly also experience chronic conditions linked to erectile dysfunction – namely high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. For good penile health, men who already have diabetes should try to keep good control over their blood sugar levels.

5. Exercise and ED

If you don’t already, you should seriously consider incorporating some cardiovascular exercise into your weekly routine – for the sake of your penis if nothing else.

Cardiovascular exercise allows you to maintain good circulation and will reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions that can lead to erection issues, such as cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

Learn how to prevent cardiovascular disease.

6. Reduce stress

Not all causes of erectile problems are physical.

Stress, depression and performance anxiety all affect the health of your erection. Psychological causes tend to be more common in younger men and account for between 10-20% of all incidences of erectile dysfunction.

Adopt strategies promoting good mental health and seek professional support.

7. Heart health and ED

As the center of the cardiovascular system, your heart’s health should be your main priority.

Putting stress on your heart and the network of arteries it uses to send blood to your penis has a clear correlation with the health of your penis. Ignoring all of the above points on improving your lifestyle could seriously put you at risk of developing atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, all of which spell disaster for your erection.

Check your blood pressure regularly and address all of the above points.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatments

Treatment for ED will depend on the underlying cause. You may need to use a combination of treatments.

May prescribe medication to help you manage the symptoms of ED. You may need to try several medications before you find one that works. The following oral medications stimulate blood flow to your penis to help treat ED:

  • avanafil (Stendra)
  • sildenafil (Viagra)
  • tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)

Alprostadil (Caverject, Edex, and MUSE) is another medication that can be used to treat ED. It can be administered in two ways: as a penile suppository or as a self-injection at the base or side of the penis.

At Vancouver Laser doctors may recommend testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) if you have low levels of testosterone.


In many cases, you can improve your ED symptoms. Many medications and treatments are available.

Your treatment plan will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of your ED and whether it’s caused by a specific health condition. A Vancouver Laser doctor will work closely with you to explain the benefits and risks associated with each type of treatment.

It’s important to remember that ED is a common condition. If you’re experiencing symptoms of ED, discuss them with us as soon as possible. That way, we can rule out underlying causes and begin a treatment plan. Book a consultation now to learn more.

All You Need To Know About Erectile Dysfunction