By -

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and keep an erection. It is generally referred to as ‘impotence’ and it is a very common condition, especially for men over the age of 40 years.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is a condition which affects most men, at some point in their lives. The root cause of this can often be difficult to identify although it is usually affected by mental factors such as stress, tiredness, and anxiety. Lifestyle choices, such as the amount of alcohol you consume and your exercise levels can also be a factor.

As well as psychological factors, there are several physical causes of erectile dysfunction, including:

  • A narrowing of the blood vessels in the penis  
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Hormone related problems, such as a low testosterone level
  • Side effects from prescribed medication

When should I contact my GP?

Erectile dysfunction is very common and may not be a sign of any underlying health problems. To some degree, it’s estimated that over half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 are affected. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, then you should make an appointment with your GP to check for any other health issues that could be a contributing factor, such as those listed above.

In a routine appointment, a GP would typically ask you what medication you’ve been taking in the last year, and details about your relationships, lifestyle and mental health, in confidence. You may also consider visiting a sexual health clinic as they are dedicated to these problems and often offer a walk-in service.

For those with busy lifestyles, restricted mobility or limited access to high street pharmacy, our Online Doctor service lets you complete a brief and confidential consultation with a GP.  

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please always call 999 in the first instance.

How can I manage the condition?

Before being prescribed medication, you may be asked to make changes to your lifestyle which could include:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating a healthier diet
  • Cutting down on alcohol
  • Stopping smoking
  • Exercising regularly

As stress can also be a contributing factor, it’s often helpful to try and address or reduce anything in your life which causes anxiety.

Our sister company, ChemistDirect.co.uk stock over-the-counter treatments which do not require a prescription. There are creams, food supplements and other sexual aids available. To see our whole range click, here.

Prescription treatments

There are also prescription treatments available to help overcome erectile dysfunction from our sister company Pharmacy2U. The most common medicines are known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors which work by blocking the PDE-5 enzyme in the blood vessels, increasing the flow of blood to the penis.

Our Online Doctor service has a variety of treatments available. Viagra (Sildenafil) is often prescribed by GPs as a treatment but there are many different options available including Cialis (Tadalafil), Levitra (Vardenafil) and Spedra (Avanafil), which all work in a similar way.

The Online Doctor is a convenient and confidential GP consultation service with treatments available for erectile dysfunction and many more common conditions including weight loss, hair loss and situational anxiety.

To learn more and begin your consultation with a UK-based GP click, here.