Understanding the Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

It is not strange to say that Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a bit of a taboo subject for those who suffer from it. There has been a large social stigma associated with ED and its consequences. Extensive research into ED treatment options has not been an easy task due to this stigma, making it difficult to find the links or correlation between them.

Many men hesitate to consult a doctor and suffer in silence, which has made it harder to find the exact number of ED victims. It is estimated that 50% of men between the age group of 40 and 70 years will suffer from ED at least once in their lifetime.

Fortunately, clinical studies and investigations have shown found that there a number of causes of ED. The causes can be divided into two different categories – physiological causes and psychological causes. In this article, let us take a closer look at some of the leading causes of ED to understand the condition better.

Physiological Causes

There are a number of physiological problems affecting a man’s ability to attain and sustain an erection. In this category, you will find causes from chronic health issues to the bad effects of certain medications. Most physiological causes are associated with poor blood circulation, which can affect the blood flow to the penile organ. Have a look at some of the most common ones:

• High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can have a negative impact on a man’s ability to attain an erection. It prevents the penile organ from receiving adequate amount of blood for an erection. Unfortunately, the medicines used to treat hypertension also contribute to ED. For instance, beta-blockers prevent penile muscles from relaxing, while blood thinners reduce the force of blood flow to the penile organ.

• Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a condition characterized by the accumulation of fat (adipose tissue) in the blood vessels, which can affect the blood circulation. It is quite clear that atherosclerosis and ED have a strong link and go hand in hand. High blood cholesterol is also one of the causes of ED.

• Diabetes

Diabetes can greatly increase the risk of ED in men. This could be due to damage done to the penile arteries, veins, and nerves due to high blood sugar. In addition, certain drugs used to control high blood sugar can lead to erectile dysfunction.

• Hormonal Imbalance

Men with low testosterone levels are often the victims of erectile dysfunction. Low testosterone can be caused by conditions, such as thyroid abnormalities and stress. Lack of testosterone reduces the secretion of nitric oxide, a substance that helps men experience an erection.

• Others

Other causes contributing to the development of ED include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spine injury, penile deformity and adverse effects of certain medicinal drugs. Unhealthy lifestyle such as poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol and indulgence in illicit drugs can also make a man impotent.

Psychological Causes

Initially, experts believed that erectile dysfunction is predominantly caused by psychological conditions. In fact, most men do suffer from ED due to psychological problems.

• Prolonged Stress

Prolonged stress can affect a man’s ability to attain or sustain an erection. Long-term sense of stress, or chronic stress, can make you suffer from ED at any time. Hence, men should find ways to manage stress; they can control stress by leading a healthy lifestyle.

• Depression

Depression is another common psychological condition that results in ED. At the same time, some antidepressants drugs can also contribute to erectile dysfunction, making the situation worse for those suffering from depression.

• Anxiety

Performance anxiety is one of the most common causes of penile failures in men. The stress and fear associated with anxiety often have a negative impact on the blood vessels of the penile organ. Another psychological cause associated with anxiety is a feeling of guilt.

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