Erectile Dysfunction: What Are The Causes?


Erectile dysfunction is not uncommon and a variety of things can cause it. Take a look at some common causes of erectile dysfunction.


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What Is Erectile Dysfunction?


Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is characterized by the inability to achieve and maintain a penile erection adequate for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Erectile dysfunction is caused by interconnected emotional and physical processes.

Conclusions from an observational study carried out by the Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS) reports that 52% of males aged between 40 and 70 reported erectile dysfunction.

The erection of the penis is a rush of blood entering and being retained in sponge-like bodies within the penis. Erectile dysfunction increases during ageing and is often telling of endothelial dysfunction.

There could be several factors causing erectile dysfunction, including both emotional and physical disorders. Understanding the potential causes can help a man identify why they may be experiencing the condition.


Erectile Dysfunction And Lifestyle


Being overweight and not getting enough exercise as well as smoking and drinking alcohol can work against blood flow that is key to achieving an erection.

In some cases, men like a little alcohol before sex to help take the edge off. However, too much alcohol, as Shakespeare wrote, “provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.”

In one study, it was found that cigarette smoking almost doubles the likelihood of moderate to complete erectile dysfunction. It was found in another study of 4462 Vietnam war veterans that they were 1.5 times more likely to report erectile dysfunction than non-smokers.

To get an erection, a person must first go through a certain phase of excitement. This phase is usually an emotional response. If a person has an emotional disorder, such as anxiety, depression or serious stress, these conditions do affect the ability to become sexually excited.


Erectile Dysfunction And Drugs


Taking certain medications can affect blood flow, which can lead to erectile dysfunction. In particular blood pressure drugs, especially beta-blockers and certain antidepressants.

Known drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction include alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, opiates, methadone, antidepressants and diuretics.

That being said, a person should never stop taking a medicine without clearance from the doctor. If you think your medication could be causing erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor. He may be able to switch you to another solution or recommend taking a medication to combat erectile dysfunction along with your current prescription.


Erectile Dysfunction And Diseases


Conditions that affect the heart and its ability to pump blood can cause erectile dysfunction. Without enough blood flow to the penis, a person can’t achieve an erection. High cholesterol and high blood pressure (hypertension) are also associated with increased risks of erectile dysfunction.

LetsGetChecked offer a personal Heart Check test which indicates a person’s risk for cardiovascular (heart) disease by determining the levels of lipids or fats in your blood.

Diabetic erectile dysfunction is common as both vascular and neurological mechanisms are affected and may damage the blood vessels that cause erections. Even if your hormonal levels are optimal and you have the desire to have sex, you still may not be able to achieve a firm erection.


Erectile Dysfunction And Low Testosterone


Testosterone is a male sex hormone. It is secreted by a man’s testes and is responsible for maintaining muscle mass and strength, adequate levels of red blood cells, bone density, a sense of well-being, fertility and sexual function.

When a man’s levels of testosterone drop below normal, his sex life may be affected. When testosterone levels are too low, a man may have difficulty achieving an erection. He may also experience spontaneous erections, for example during sleep. Low testosterone can be brought on my physical and emotional stressors, the signs and symptoms of low testosterone often include an inability to maintain an erection.


Learn About Erectile Dysfunction with Dr. Dominic Rowley
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Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley