Erectile Dysfunction, also termed impotence, refers to the inability to obtain or maintain an erection that is firm enough or lasts long enough to have satisfactory sexual intercourse. The problem affects almost all men at one time or another in their lives and is emerging as one of the most serious life style and stress related diseases. While erectile dysfunction often devastates those affected by it, out of fear, embarrassment, or countless other reasons, few men seek treatment. Over exertion, physiological disturbances, lowered level of hormones and strained relationship with partner are the main causes for this disease.
However, the problem is almost always treatable. It has definite physical and/or psychological causes. It is not a “natural” consequence of aging nor is it “all in your head.” Most importantly, erectile dysfunction is not a condition you should accept or learn to live with. Most men who seek help benefit from treatment.
Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these. Likewise, stress and mental health problems can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes erectile dysfunction. For instance, a minor physical problem that slows your sexual response may cause anxiety about maintaining an erection. The resulting anxiety can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction.
Physical causes of erectile dysfunction
In most cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by something physical. Common causes include:
- Heart disease
- Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome, a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Low testosterone
- Peyronie’s disease, development of scar tissue inside the penis
- Certain prescription medications
- Tobacco use
- Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction
The brain plays a key role in triggering the series of physical events that cause an erection, starting with feelings of sexual excitement. A number of things can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:
- Depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions
- Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns
According to Ayurveda, sex is the third pillar of Life, the first two being diet and sleep. These form the foundation on which to build a life of health and longevity.
Ayurveda has mentioned numerous herbal remedies for erectile dysfunction which contain natural aphrodisiacs. These preparations enhance one’s potency by leaps and bounds by increasing the span of erection, hardness and prevents premature ejaculation and rejuvenates the male reproductive system.
Ayurveda defines erectile dysfunction or ED as follows:
Sankalpapravano nityam priyaam vashyaamapi sthreeyam ||
na yaathi lingashaithilyaath kadaachidyaathi vaa yadi |
Shwaasaarthaha swinnagaatrshcha moghasankalpacheshtitaha ||
mlaanashishnashcha nirbeejaha syodetat klaibyalakshanam |
This means even though a man has a strong desire to perform sexual act with a cooperative partner, he cannot perform sexual act because of looseness (absence of erection) of his phallus (penis). Even if he performs sexual act with his determined efforts he does not get erection and gets afflicted with tiredness, perspiration and frustration to perform sex. This condition is termed as “Klaibyathva”.
Ayurveda describes physiology of erection and ejaculation as follows:
Vrishunow basthimedram cha naabhyuuru vankshnow gudam |
Apaanasthaanamantrasthaha shukra mootra shakrunti cha ||
The apaana vayu one of the five types of vayu is located in the testicles, urinary bladder, phallus, umbilicus, thighs, groin, anus and colon. Its functions are ejaculation of semen, voiding of urine and stools.
As per Ayurveda “when a man has desire (ichcha) to have sex, his response to touch increases. Vayu located in skin causes flow of signals from skin to brain, thus causing sensation of touch. This causes arousal or harsha. Harsha intensifies actions of vayu and at this moment highly active vayu liberates the teja or heat of pitta. Thus tejas and vayu increase body temperature, heart beat and blood flow causing erection.”
“yatha payasi sarpistu goodashchekshow raso yatha
shareereshu tatha shukram nrinaam vidyaadhbishagwara”
This means the shukra (the element which helps in reproduction) is present all over the body. But the cream of shukra (semen) comes out of the body only during the process of ejaculation, which needs a joyful union of mind and body. Decrease in production of shukra causes erectile dysfunction.
According to Ayurveda, the total treatment for Erectile dysfunction or Impotence is called as Vajikaranatherapy.
Vajikarana or Vrishya chikitsa is a one of eight major specialty of the Ashtanga Ayurveda. This subject is concerned with aphrodisiacs, virility and improving health of progeny. In Sanskrit, Vaji means horse, the symbol of sexual potency and performance thus Vajikaran means producing a horse’s vigor, particularly the animal’s great capacity for sexual activity in the individual.
Vajikarana chikitsa requires living in strict compliance to the directions mentioned in Ayurvedic classics. It involves various methods of shodhan (body cleansing) through vaman (emesis), virechan (purgation) and swedan (sweating). After the Shodhan therapy, based on the prakriti of the individual’s imbalance (doshic body constitution-Tridosha theory), certain herbal and herbo-mineral combinations are administered. Other components in the therapy involves improving health and pleasure in general like, massaging with medicated herbal oils and herbal baths, wearing of fragrant garlands, anointing the body with fragrant herbal pastes, listening to music, etc.
Vajikarana therapy is said to revitalize all the seven dhatus (body elements), therefore, restores equilibrium and health. Keeping in mind the concept of vajikaran as described in the texts of Ayurveda, it definitely offers a solution to minimize the shukra (sperm and ovum) defects and to ensure a healthy progeny.
At CHARAKA, we are providing very effective treatments (therapies, internal medicines and external applications) for Erectile dysfunction or Impotence with the guidelines of classical Ayurveda literature and our extensive research done. These treatments are directed and customized to suit the individual’s requirement and are yielding high success rate.