What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction – Warning Signs You Should Pay Attention to

Example of a man thinking about symptoms of erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a common enough medical condition that affects about 18 million men across the United States. Originating in blood circulation problems, ED can have far-reaching consequences for your love life and personal satisfaction in a way that makes the problem even more difficult to manage.

If you can catch on to the symptoms early enough, it may be possible to stop the condition from worsening and live wholesome lives with a healthy sex life as well as greater self-confidence.

The process of erection is complicated; this is why treating ED is equally as difficult because the interaction between the physiological and psychological factors is a diagnostic nightmare to identify.

As such, maintaining healthy lifestyles with nutritious diets, regular exercise and stress management can go a long way in mitigating the risks of developing ED.

This blog will identify some common erectile dysfunction symptoms to help understand the problem and tell you how you can manage the condition to potentially put a stop to it forever.

What Will You Learn? 

Man sat up in bed looking at partner asleep

Not All Problems With Erections Are Signs of Erectile Dysfunction

Just because you can’t get an erection once in a while doesn’t necessarily mean that you have erectile dysfunction. Defining the condition is a problem in medical conditions because the term dysfunction can mean any number of things.

Many people think that not being able to get an erection is a dysfunction, while others think that if your sexual relationship isn’t being affected it’s really not a dysfunction.

It’s very unlikely that you wouldn’t have problems in the bedroom even once in your life, the risk only gets higher as you get older and even more so if you’ve been diagnosed with an illness. About 51% of all cases of ED are also diabetic patients and older men.

This doesn’t mean that everyone else has never had a problem getting an erection; their conditions aren’t as severe to qualify as an actual dysfunction.

With these considerations in mind, you ought to understand that until and unless your erection problems cause some degree of harm to your life, it’s probably not erectile dysfunction.

However, if the problem becomes frequent enough or if your partner points out that they aren’t sexually satisfied with your erectile problems, you should visit a healthcare professional for a check-up.

Displeased woman in bed with partner

Common Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction symptoms don’t always mean that you’ll have problems getting an erection. There’s a whole spectrum of erectile consistency that could qualify as erectile dysfunction.

For a diagnosis, it’s essential that these erection problems should occur for a fairly long period of time and must compromise your life at some level.

Having said that, most men aren’t aware of these changes in their erectile functioning until their partners point it out to them.

Erectile dysfunction gradually worsens, which makes it important to make note of even the slightest changes in the girth of your penis during an erection, changes in angle and other indications that you might be developing the condition.

Some symptoms of erectile dysfunction include:

Difficulty Getting an Erection

This is, of course, one of the most obvious symptoms of erectile dysfunction. If you just can’t get an erection even though you’re actively being stimulated then it’s very likely that you might have erectile dysfunction. If this has happened more than 3 times, then you should go in for a check-up.

Frustrated man sitting in bed

Softer Erections

Softer erections usually imply that there isn’t enough blood flowing into your penis to make it harder than it is. This is usually caused by nerve damage or some vascular (blood circulation) problems in the body which needs to be treated with active medical intervention.

Difficulty Keeping an Erection

Difficulty in maintaining an erection means that the penis isn’t accommodating blood for long periods of time.

This can happen because of a low sex drive and in many cases, a hormonal imbalance that’s causing the blood to rush out quicker than it should and before you can achieve a satisfactory sexual experience.

Less Girthy Erections

A lack of girth in your erections means that your penis isn’t getting erect to its full capacity. During an erection, the penis can go up by at least 2 inches. If your erections aren’t increasing the circumference of your penis, then you might be suffering from ED.

Reduced Penile Sensitivity

For you to manage a consistent erection, most men require that they be consistently be stimulated.
Reduced sensitivity, which might not mean numbness of the penis, could reduce the effectiveness of the stimulation and cause erectile dysfunction problems.

This is often caused by nerve damage or other similar issues which a doctor can help with.

Reduced Sexual Desire

Low libido is one of the most telling signs of erectile dysfunction. Although it may have more of a psychological origin than a physiological one, due to stress or anxiety, reduced sexual desire is also considered a cause for erectile dysfunction.

Woman trying to kiss partner that's ignoring her

Your Partner Can Help You Discover Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms

Your partner takes center stage when it comes to discovering erectile dysfunction. Since there is no reason to be diagnosed with the condition until and unless it starts affecting your sex life, which better person to ask about it than your primary sexual partners, with whom you have the relationship?

Since they’re right there with you as you get intimate, they’re the first people can notice the warning signs of erectile dysfunction.

Speaking with your partner about how enjoyable the physical aspects of your relationships are and how they’ve changed over the time you’ve been together is one of the best tests for erectile dysfunction.

Many men can’t recognize these changes either because they aren’t paying attention or perhaps because they haven’t felt anything overtly different but their partners can always tell.

As such, you should speak with your partner if you feel that there have been changes in your sexual performance to identify the need for medical intervention. In many cases, interviewing sexual partners is one of the go-to methods of diagnosing someone with ED.

Sensual couple smiling together

When to Seek Medical Advice

Erectile dysfunction is not a fatal disease; however, it can significantly impact your relationship and psychological wellbeing. In many cases, it can also be a sign that you’re developing an underlying condition like hypertension or diabetes.

You should go to your doctor when the frequency of erectile failure increases to the point where you can no longer enjoy healthy sexual relationships with your significant other.

The earlier you go, the likelier it is that you will manage to overcome the condition once and for all. As always, speak with your partners to see if they’ve noticed a change and use that as a yardstick for whether you need medical advice.

Doctor talking with male patient in medical office

Health Complications Related to Erectile Dysfunction

Considering the role of psychology and physiology of erectile dysfunction, there are quite a few medical conditions that might cause it. These include:

  • Cardiovascular diseases which affect blood pressure and circulation
  • Diabetes because of the damage it causes to nerves
  • Hypertension
  • Peyronie’s Disease, a condition where scar tissue forms inside the penis
  • Obesity because of the hormonal imbalances and the coexistence of diabetes or hypertension
  • Prostate cancer
  • Psychological disorders like anxiety and depression
  • Substance abuse

In many cases medications might also cause ED, owing to the various side-effects. Common medications that cause ED include:

  • Opioid-based pain medication
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Blood pressure medication

How to Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

The process of preventing erectile dysfunction includes adopting healthy lifestyle choices that ensure your continued health and do not compromise the circulation to your penis.

In addition to this, it also involves managing stress and anxiety because these are also some very frequently observed causes of sexual dysfunction.

Some ways you can prevent erectile dysfunction include:

  • Regular exercise, because it stimulates blood flow throughout the body
  • Lowering cholesterol to prevent blood vessel blockages
  • Diets high in vitamins, zinc, Omega 3- fats and other essential nutrients
  • Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake

Person putting empty bottle into recycle can

How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

There are numerous options to treat erectile dysfunction if the natural ways of eliminating the condition do not work out.

These include medication, topical creams, vacuum erection devices and a range of implants and pumps to help maintain better erections.

Medication For ED

Medication for ED (pills that improve erection) relies on chemicals called PDE-5 inhibitors. These keep the blood vessels around the penis open for longer periods of time to ensure longer erections. There are four types of PDE-5 inhibitors that are prescribed for ED in the US. These include:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra)
  • Avanafil (Stendra)

Topical Creams

Alprostadil cream works much in the same way as PDE-5 inhibitors do. These are used on the surface of the penis rather than ingested. These have also been a popular method to treat ED.

Vacuum Erection Devices

VEDs force blood into the penis by creating a vacuum around it. As a greater amount of blood flows into your penis, you will get better erections than you did before.

Penile Pumps

These are surgical procedures whereby doctors place implants into the penis, attached to pumps that can be inflated to achieve an erection. These are very dangerous procedures which are often just restricted to the most severe cases of ED.

Peeled banana being carefully held


The ability to maintain an erection is central to living a healthy and wholesome life. As such, you should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure that you can enjoy a much better love life and find yourself far more joyous than ever.

For as long as you maintain a good diet, exercise often and avoid substance abuse like alcohol and nicotine, then there is little reason for why you ought to be worried.

This blog has offered a comprehensive guide on what the symptoms of erectile dysfunction are. As such, you should visit a doctor at the slightest hint of ED and consult a physician before you take medication for it.


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