Health: The Underlying Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction



Erectile dysfunction, commonly known as ED, is a condition in which a man has trouble getting or maintaining an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Although it is normal for men to experience problems associated with their erections once in a while, when the problem happens regularly or is progressive, an erectile dysfunction treatment should be sought.

ED happens due to emotional or stress reasons, limited blood flow in the penis, or as a warning of a serious underlying condition such as heart disease or high blood pressure. Once you understand the causes of your erectile dysfunction, the condition becomes easier to treat.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

The risk of erectile dysfunction gradually increases with age, but becoming old is no guarantee that you’ll get ED. There are men that remain sexually functional even into their 80s. The most critical step in erectile dysfunction treatment is finding the cause and treating it. Here are some of the causes of ED.

Physical Causes

The majority of the physical reasons for erectile dysfunction are attributed to blood pressure and circulation. Atherosclerosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can hinder the amount of blood that flows to the penis. Diabetes often leads to erectile dysfunction because it damages blood vessels and nerves. ED can also happen if there is difficulty for the brain to send nerve signals to the penis.

Injury, illness, or surgery to a man’s pelvic region could tamper with the nerves from the brain or spinal cord to the penis, thus leading to ED. More so, the penis failing to trap blood when experiencing an erection is also an issue that can happen to males of any age. It becomes difficult to maintain an erection if blood can’t remain in a man’s penis.

Metabolic syndrome and obesity can result in changes in body composition, blood pressure, and cholesterol which can eventually lead to erectile dysfunction. Other conditions and lifestyle choices can increase the likelihood of ED, and they include:

  • Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis
  • Smoking and alcoholism
  • Sleep disorders
  • Drug abuse

The consumption of certain medications, such as cancer treatments, can cause erectile dysfunction. In addition, surgeries or radiation near a man’s lower abdomen or pelvis can also lead to ED. In many cases, prostate, bladder, and colon-rectal cancer leave men with ED.

Psychological Causes

A key requirement for normal sex is the mind and body working collaboratively. A good portion of erectile dysfunction cases have an emotional and psychological cause. Since arousal is started from the brain, having psychological issues could be a substantial contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions can negatively affect your libido, which in turn makes it challenging for a person to get aroused. Emotional or psychological issues can lead to or even worsen erectile dysfunction.

Stress is also a contributing factor because it interferes with how your brain sends signals to send extra blood to the penis. In several situations, these psychological issues gradually result in performance anxiety which itself is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Pinning down the exact cause of erectile dysfunction can prove to be difficult. However, it is worth the effort because if left untreated, erectile dysfunction can lead to heightened anxiety and stress as well as relationship problems and low self-esteem.

Wrapping It Up

Progressive erectile dysfunction needs to be treated as early as possible to avoid further effects. It can be quite embarrassing to discuss your sex life with your doctor, but it’s the best way to receive erectile dysfunction treatment and return to being intimate with your partner. The doctor could pinpoint the genesis of your problem and even recommend lifestyle changes such as quitting alcohol or smoking and losing weight. Other treatment options for erectile dysfunction include hormone treatments, ED drugs, or counselling.

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]