Erectile Dysfunction – A Major Concern of A Man

erectile dysfunctionThe definition of erectile dysfunction (ED) is easy. When the penis of a man doesn’t get erected when he is aroused, the condition is called erectile dysfunction. It is one of the major male health problems spread worldwide and its reasons are many ranging from physical, such as diabetes and kidney failure, to psychological.

Role of cGMP

cGMP is an important enzyme to play a role in the arousal of a man. It is this enzyme that is released by the brain, in turn releasing nitric oxide (NO) and brings about the dilation of penile arteries and smooth muscles to facilitate increased blood flow in the penis. The increased blood flow brings about engorgement of the inner tissues which in turn compress the veins that take the blood out from penis. Together this process makes the penis erect and stiff due to the increased blood.

How ED Takes Place

PDE5 is another enzyme that breaks down cGMP. Thus in the absence of cGMP erectile dysfunction occurs.


Causes of erectile dysfunction are many and sometimes they may be psychological rather than physical. Psychological reasons are easy to remove. Other reasons are:

  • Diabetes mellitus (because it causes neuropathy, i.e. damage to nerves)
  • Some drugs like nicotine and anti-depressants
  • Aging
  • Kidney failure
  • Lifestyle – this involves mainly smoking because smoking brings about arterial contraction.


Exercise, that too aerobic exercise is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Medicines used are PDE5 inhibitors like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra). These are to be taken orally. They block the action of PDE5 enzyme thus stops the breakage of cGMP enzyme and helping the achievement of erection.

In case of failure of pharmacological methods, a vacuum pump is also used to attain erection.

Alternative Medicines

There are many herbal drugs available for the treatment of ED, but FDA doesn’t approve them, because there are no clinical trials done to prove their results. Some of these herbal products are contaminated with compounds resembling sildenafil; therefore US FDA warns consumers about their presence in the alternative medicines.