Erectile Dysfunction

In my experience men will come in an ask for the “blue pill” to treat Erectile Dysfunction. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as just take the blue pill. It is important for your health and well being to find the cause of the ED. 40% of men are affected by ED by age 40 and 70% by age 70.

Symptoms of ED include the ability to get an erection sometimes but not every time, getting an erection that does not last long enough for sex, or not being able to get an erection at all. There are multiple causes of ED and the first step is to rule out possible causes.

Some causes of ED are type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, peyronie’s disease, some surgeries for bladder cancer, prostate, and spinal cord, and several medications. Fear of performance, anxiety, depression, and stress also play a factor. Smoking, drinking, not enough physical activity and obesity are factors as well. As testosterone drops body fat increases and as body fat increases testosterone drops.

Because ED is caused by other problems the goal is to find out what that problem is. I recommend starting with an annual exam. If you have insurance, you are covered to have most of these causes checked and the labs are covered. Annually you are checked for diabetes, thyroid, cholesterol, blood pressure, kidney disease and depression/anxiety. If you already had your annual exam, check with your primary care provider to see if all of these were normal.

If all these labs are normal then you need to look at your weight and body fat, or anxiety and depression. You will need to have your testosterone levels checked. Make sure you ask your prescriber if the medications you are on can cause ED. Your results allow your provider to make the diagnosis and order your ED medications. If the cause is a disease or disorder you will need to treat the disease or disorder before getting the blue pill.

For more information I recommend you visit the National Institute of Health:

Definition & Facts for Erectile Dysfunction | NIDDK (

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Sharon Zell NP