Erectile dysfunction

The Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the repeated inability of a man to get or maintain an erection. This affects fertility by impeding the sperms access into the woman’s uterus.

Erectile dysfunction is often a symptom of other health problems that require treatment, therefore it is very important to schedule a doctor’s appointment to perform a check-up.

Knowing the causes of erectile dysfunction is critical when it comes to selecting a treatment that restores a normal erectile function and helps to achieve pregnancy with minimal wear. Treatment with specialized drugs are usually the first option. However, if these are not enough, the In-Vitro Fertilization coupled with intracytoplasmic sperm injection ( IVF + ICSI ) offers the highest success rates.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the repeated inability of a man to get or maintain an erection.

Although all men experience occasional problems maintaining an erection, erectile dysfunction can only be diagnosed when it occurs in at least 25 percent of the time.

Erectile dysfunction affects about 152 million men worldwide and can affect fertility since, without erection or ejaculation, the sperm cannot enter into the woman’s uterus.

When erectile dysfunction is a consequence of diabetes mellitus, this also contributes to a decrease in the ejaculate’s sperm concentration, mobility and morphology.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

Some of the major causes of erectile dysfunction are:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • High cholesterol level
  • Parkinson disease
  • Cardiovascular or neurological diseases
  • Kidney or liver diseases
  • Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Prostate or bladder surgeries
  • Prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate)
  • Penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder or pelvis injuries
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Some blood pressure medications and antihistamines, tranquilizers, antidepressants and appetite suppressants
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake or other drugs such as cocaine or marijuana
  • Emotional problems such as stress, anxiety or depression

Although it can affect men of all ages, erectile dysfunction is more common in men over 65 years. This is often a symptom of underlying health problems that require treatment. Therefore it is very important to schedule a doctor’s appointment to perform a check-up.

How are the causes of erectile dysfunction diagnosed?

The more information you can provide your fertility specialist about your medical history, it will be better to identify the causes of erectile dysfunction.

Similarly, you will be asked to answer a questionnaire known as the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), which consists of five questions that allows to establish the severity of erectile dysfunction.

In addition to a physical examination for evidence of other diseases, your doctor may perform a blood test to determine your testosterone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, thyroid hormones, glucose or cholesterol levels.

Treatments to achieve pregnancy in patients suffering from erectile dysfunction

Knowing the causes of erectile dysfunction is critical when it comes to selecting a fertility treatment that restores a normal erectile function and helps to achieve pregnancy with minimal wear.

If erectile dysfunction is caused by medications, your doctor will ask you to suspend their use and help you find other options. On the other hand, if there is an underlying medical condition, treatment is usually sufficient to reverse erectile dysfunction.

If the treatment of the causes of erectile dysfunction is not enough, your doctor may prescribe specific medication. The use of oral medications is very effective as it increases blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation.

Treatment of erectile dysfunction should always be accompanied by some healthy lifestyle changes, which can help prevent diseases that cause this condition.

If these methods are not sufficient to achieve pregnancy, your options include:

  1. Artificial insemination, where a previously capacitated couple or donor sperm sample is introduced into the woman’s uterus just at the time of ovulation. This method is only recommended in women under 35 and only when there are no other infertility causes detected. 
  2. In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which allows to join the patient’s eggs with an improved quality sperm sample in a special laboratory dish under controlled conditions to increase the likelihood of a successful fertilization.
  3. In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Microinjection (IVF + ICSI). In this specialized procedure a single sperm is carefully introduced directly into the cytoplasm of a mature egg using a microscopic needle via micromanipulation. This technique offers the highest pregnancy rates by disregarding sperm motility as a necessity to fertilize the egg.

These techniques help men with conditions that would have prevented them from having children to realize their parenthood dream.

Erectile dysfunction is an emotionally draining situation which requires immediate professional support. We are convinced that decreased stress levels can improve the immunitary and reproductive functions of our patient’s bodies, improving the likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy.

At Ingenes’ emotional support unit we take good care of our patients from their first check-up to support them throughout their journey to become parents. And with our diagnosis fertility program you will also know the cause and proper treatment from your first visit.