Questions? We've got you covered

Q: What is the difference between erectile dysfunction (ED) and impotence?


Generally, ED is used in the description of a range of conditions specifically faced by men – such as the “occasional inability to maintain or sustain an erection to a mild degree”1a. In contrast, impotence has negative connotations associated with its use mainly as it is used as a general term for describing male sexual dysfunction which includes reduced “sexual drive, orgasmic or ejaculatory dysfunction, and erectile dysfunction”2a.

Q: If a man thinks he might have erectile dysfunction, when should he visit his doctor?


There can sometimes be certain stressors that one can experience due to a particular event in their life which may cause him to temporarily not be able to get or maintain an erection. In this instance it does not necessarily mean that they need to see a healthcare provider immediately. However, if no such event occurred and the ED becomes a persistent problem then it is advisable that they speak to a trusted healthcare provider to determine what the root of the issue might be1b.

Q: Will medications cause side effects?


Medication may treat each user differently and the side effects may vary from minor to slightly more severe. The minor side effects can include upset stomach, headaches, and facial blushing. A small percentage of men have been found to experience temporary vision disturbance after taking some of the ED medication1c.

Q: Are there any men who should not take the medications?


ED medication is generally not advised for men who have coronary artery disease as these medications can cause the men’s blood pressure to drop to dangerous levels1d.

Q: I never heard of ED until just a few years ago. Is it new?


Although ED has been somewhat of a taboo topic, research pertaining to it can be found from as early as 1668 where it was discovered that an injection could be used to induce an erection3a.Today, advertisements and campaigns have facilitated with making ED more topical hence the more widespread awareness as more men are seeking help regarding the condition4.

Q: Can I still have sex if I have ED?


Yes, “normal erections” are not a necessity for some individuals to lead a sexually active life5.

Q: Are there any remedies for ED or is it a permanent condition?


ED has long been thought to be a permanent condition but over the past two decades increased awareness and education has facilitated with it being viewed as an “organic medically treatable disease”. ED treatment can vary from medication or surgery to identification and treatment of underlying psychological and emotional factors. A trusted healthcare provider needs to be consulted to help you determine the best treatment for your ED2b.

Q: How will my doctor treat erectile dysfunction?


There is a growing consensus that ED is mostly organic. Therefore, your healthcare provider may initially suggest that you identify and treat possible underlying psychologic emotional causes. These suggestions might include lifestyle changes, counselling or a possible altering of any drug regimens you might be on2c.

Q: How can I get tested for erectile dysfunction?


There are no specific tests to detect if someone has ED. However, clinical assessments can be conducted through some blood samples and mainly through discussions which encourage patients to volunteer extensive information on their physiological and psychological health, and socio-demographic variables among other measures2d.

Q: How can exercises improve erectile dysfunction?


It has been widely noted that regular physical exercise is one of the most important reversible risk factors and therefore is integral in improving erectile function. Exercise has been said to have greater efficacy when used in conjunction with drugs as prescribed by a trusted healthcare provider6.

Q: Can erectile dysfunction lead to male infertility?


There are a multitude of factors which can cause infertility in men, the primary means of testing is through semen analysis. A specialist assesses the sperm concentration, movement, and shape to observe any abnormalities in the semen analysis. Therefore, a man with ED is not considered infertile unless the semen analysis shows abnormalities7. It has been noted that ED can have an impact on a man’s fertility8 by creating a barrier to their ability to conceive, however, the two do not necessarily co-exist9.

Q: What’s the difference between ED and ejaculatory dysfunction?


Erectile dysfunction is classified as the inability to achieve and maintain an erection1e. While ejaculatory dysfunction was classified as the inability to ejaculate, premature ejaculation, or delayed ejaculation10.

Q: Is erectile dysfunction inevitable as I get older?


Despite its prevalence among older men, ED is not inevitable as you get older. ED does not discriminate based on age and many causes of ED are not necessarily related to ageing.

The hard fact is that complaints about young men experiencing trouble rising to the occasion are becoming increasingly frequent: studies estimate that one in four patients seeking medical health for ED were under the age of 4011.

Q: Can erectile dysfunction be a side effect of medication?


In short – Yes. But you must consult with your doctor before stopping any medication.

Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medication, and ED medication is readily available and safe for men. An exception to this rule is certain medications for heart disease and strokes, known as organic nitrates, that widen blocked arteries in patients with angina.

Unfortunately nitrates and ED pills don’t mix, causing blood pressures to drop by potentially dangerous amounts which could have a fatal outcome12. But, there are other methods of getting an erection so don’t lose all hope of having fun between the sheets.

[1] Erectile Dysfunction - FAQs | University of Maryland Medical Center. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.umms.org/ummc/health-services/urology/conditions-treatments/erectile-dysfunction/faqs
[2] Chun, J. and Carson, C.C. (2001) “PHYSICIAN-PATIENT DIALOGUE AND CLINICAL EVALUATION OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION,” Urologic Clinics of North America, 28(2), pp. 249–258. doi:10.1016/S0094-0143(05)70135-X.
[3] Jonas, U. (n.d.). The history of erectile dysfunction management. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from www.nature.com/ijir
[4] Strahilevitz, J. et al. (2005) “An outbreak of Phialemonium infective endocarditis linked to intracavernous penile injections for the treatment of impotence,” Clinical Infectious Diseases, 40(6), pp. 781–786. doi:10.1086/428045/2/40-6-781-FIG001.GIF.
[5] Blanker, M.H. et al. (2001) “Erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction in a community-based sample of men 50 to 78 years old: prevalence, concern, and relation to sexual activity,” Urology, 57(4), pp. 763–768. doi:10.1016/S0090-4295(00)01091-8.
[6] Duca, Y. et al. (2019) “Erectile dysfunction, physical activity and physical exercise: Recommendations for clinical practice,” Andrologia, 51(5), p. e13264. doi:10.1111/AND.13264.
[7] Infertility | Reproductive Health | CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm
[8] Soni, V., Pastuszak, A. W. & Khera, M., 2014. Erectile Dysfuncitona nd Infertility. In: J. P. Mulhall & W. Hsiao, eds. Men's Sexual Health and Fertility: A Clinician's Guide. London: Springer, p. 268.
[9] Von Thesling-Sweet, G. & Shindel, A. W., 2014. Physiology of Erection. In: J. P. Mulhall & W. Hsiao, eds. Men's Sexual Health and Fertility: A Clinician's Guide. London: Springer, p. 268.
[10] Otani, T. 2019. CLinical review of ejaculatory dysfunction. Retrieved February 8, 2022, from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6780042/
[11] Wiley Online Library. One Patient Out of Four with Newly Diagnosed Erectile Dysfunction Is a Young Man—Worrisome Picture from the Everyday Clinical Practice. Accessed online: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jsm.12179
[12] Harvard Health Publishing. Are erectile dysfunction pills safe for men with heart disease? Accessed online: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/are-erectile-dysfunction-pills-safe-for-men-with-heart-disease