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Suffering from erectile dysfunction? What treatment should be done?

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Practicing since : 2003
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Hello. Could you advise me on erectile dsyfunction? I am 19 years old. Since I was 15 or 16, I drank between 2-5 liters of Mountain Dew per day. I also ate very poorly. Lots of candy, ice cream, fries, and processed foods. A little before freshman year of college, I started smoking marijuana heavily. Almost daily, essentially. I drank a lot too, and had cigarettes/cigars from time to time. The summer was a lot more tame. This year is my sophomore year. I have cut back on the soda to almost nothing, I don't smoke any cigarettes, my drinking is moderate with a few binges here and there, and I think I'm done with weed for good. My eating and exercise habits are a lot better, but still could use some improvement.

I am in love with the perfect girl. I recently experienced a two-week bout of erectile dysfunction during which morning wood was floppy and I could only have sex once before losing the erection. My normal performance is hours and hours, coming multiple times. This had never happened before, and it scared me to death. I exercised, stopped all illicit behaviors, and ate more fruits/veggies. The problem really did go away. Performance anxiety had something to do with it, but I am so convinced that this might have something to do with me damaging my arteries or affecting my circulation with the weed, alcohol, cigarettes, soda or junk food. Is this possible in the small amount of time from early/mid - high school to sophomore year of college?

It is also worth noting that my mother has a thyroid disorder. I'm worried that my Raynaud's symptoms and erectile problems might be caused by an overactive thyroid. Since ED is very common among men with thyroid problems, I'm very nervous. When I was a young kid, I'd get blue lips from swimming in a pool. I'm susceptible to cold, and believe I have poor circulation based on coloration and sensations when I go inside and outside with temperature differences. I have been increasingly anxious, having panic attacks and depression surround the previous bout of ED and relationship stress. I seem to fall into the hyperactive thyroid category. Anyway, I think I've presented all the information I can. What are some good courses of action to take? I am willing to do anything to have healthy, constant erections. However, if it's really not because of food/drinking, I would love to partake in the occasional snack or beer. I'm just worried that I damaged my body or that I have a disorder, and that either of these things might be causing ED.

Are there any tests or definitive steps that can be taken? I hate the anxiety of just keeping everything on the up-and-up while just hoping that the ED won't come back. I'm afraid it has once more. I drank a moderate amount last night and did not experience morning wood today. I cannot let ED affect my relationship because I am in love with this girl. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Posted Sat, 17 Nov 2012 in Erectile Dysfunction
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 1 hour later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

Very often, the causes of erectile dysfunction are multifactorial. In other words, many small problems may interact and compound each other, resulting in the dysfunction.

Now, it is a well known fact that excessive alcohol and smoking can have an adverse effect of sexual functioning. Though this could be apply in your case, it is very unlikely that the short period of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption would have caused any permanent damage to your arteries or nerves. Moreover, you mention that you have cut down on these significantly, adopted a much healthier lifestyle, and your sexual performance has been quite okay after this, till recently.

Now, the crux of managing any sexual dysfunction is the evaluation part. Since, you're worried about any potential medical causes and your thyroid status, I would advise you to have proper evaluation done. This should include a thorough physical examination (including a neurological examination) and basic lab tests (like blood sugars, hemoglobin, blood counts, kidney and liver function tests) and a thyroid profile. Having said this, I also feel that the psychological factors like anxiety may also be compounding the problem (like I had mentioned about the multifactorial etiology). You have mentioned that there were indeed relationship issues and performance anxiety surrounding the previous episode.

So, a good way tackling this problem is to avoid all "possible" small factors which could potentially be contributing to your problem. I would recommend that you seriously cut down on your alcohol and stay clean on cigarrettes and marijuana. Also, try to eat healthy, add more fruits and veggies to your diet and maybe, adding a multivitamin supplement would also be a good idea. Try to avoid stress and importantly, avoid worrying and getting anxious about this, and wondering if the ED is going to come back. You seem quite anxious already and you have to take control of it. I would once again like to reassure you that it is very unlikely that you have suffered any permanent damage to your nerves and arteries (but avoiding any further risk in the future is necessary) Remember, even when there are physical causes for ED, performance anxiety has still been found to worsen or complicate the symptoms.

So, please visit a doctor for the complete physical examination and lab investigations.

Best wishes,

Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist

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