Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when a man is unable to
get or sustain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.
Intermittent ED is common. Many men experience occasional
ED. It is generally caused by stress, exhaustion, or similar causes. Occasional
ED should not be a cause of concern.
However, men who experience frequent ED should talk to
their doctors. Frequent ED may be a sign of damage to the cardiovascular or
nervous systems. This damage may need treatment.
Frequent ED may also be a sign of serious emotional or
relationship difficulties. These can often benefit from professional treatment.
Lifestyle Factors Associated With Erectile Dysfunction
There are a
number of lifestyle factors that can cause or contribute to ED. In general, any
behavior that can damage cardiovascular or nervous system health can also
increase ED risk. Some risk factors include:
- alcohol use
- cocaine use
- being overweight or obese
- failing to control your
- lack of exercise
In addition, any activities
that cause physical damage to the nerves or blood vessels around the base of
the penis can also increase ED risk. For example, prolonged bicycling is
associated with ED. However, this type of ED is usually temporary.
Medical Factors Associated With Erectile Dysfunction
conditions can cause ED in several different ways.
Some of the most
common medical causes of ED are diseases or injuries to the cardiovascular
system. These can reduce blood flow to the penis. Some cardiovascular conditions
related to ED include:
- high blood pressure
Nervous system problems
can affect how signals travel to the blood vessels of the penis. This can then
affect blood flow and make it difficult to achieve an erection. Some nervous
system conditions associated with ED include:
- spinal cord injury
- Parkinson’s disease
- multiple sclerosis
other systemic problems can also affect a man’s ability to get and sustain an
erection. So can certain types of surgery. Other medical factors associated
with ED include:
- prostate cancer
- end-stage kidney disease
- radiation therapy
- surgery on the prostate,
bladder, or other organs near the penis
- injury to the penis,
testicles, or surrounding area
medications can increase the risk of ED. Medications known to be associated
with ED include:
- blood pressure drugs
- appetite suppressants
- cimetidine (an ulcer drug)
Other Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Mental health can affect your risk of ED. Psychological
factors linked to ED include:
Incorrect expectations about sex can also cause ED. For
example, as men get older they often need more direct stimulation of their
penis to get an erection. A man may think he has ED if he does not get an
erection just by thinking about sex. However, he may just need to adjust his
behaviors to get the stimulation he needs.
Experiencing ED can sometimes contribute to ED. Anxiety
about a previous episode of ED can make it more difficult for a man to get an
erection the next time he has sex. This can then reinforce fears about ED and
establish it as a pattern.
Finally, relationship factors can cause ED. Loss of
interest in a partner can make it more difficult to get an erection. When sex
becomes a chore, it can also cause ED.