Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to attain and maintain an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. Occasional erectile dysfunction is not uncommon. Many men encounter this disturbing situation when they are stressed.
However, if ED happens frequently, it could be a sign of health problem that should be treated. It could also symbolize relationship or emotional predicaments that only a professional can address. Note that there are other forms of sexual dysfunction apart from ED, including a lack of interest in sex and premature ejaculation.
What Are the Main Causes of Erectile Dysfunction?
ED could be caused by many factors that affect your nervous, vascular, or endocrine system directly. Studies have found that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction increases with age, therefore many men are likely to develop ED as they age. But you should note that it can be treated at any age.
The primary symptoms of erectile dysfunction include difficulty to get an erection, reduced interest in sex, and trouble maintaining an erection. Sexual arousal in men is quite a complex process, which means identifying the root of the problem could be tricky.
Though arousal mainly starts in the brain, it also involves the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. It can also be affected by emotions and hormones. If any of the things mentioned above happen, then the chances are that you might have erectile dysfunction, and should consider seeking treatment.
The leading causes of erectile dysfunction fall into two primary categories: physical and psychological. Though each of them has its way of contributing to the problem, most individuals suffering from ED get it from a combination of the two categories.
The Physical Causes of ED
Poor circulation and blood pressure are the leading causes of ED. For instance, if one or both is affected, the chances are that you will experience ED at some point. High cholesterol, heart disease, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure can have an impact on circulation and blood pressure, thereby leading to ED. Diabetes can also cause erectile dysfunction by damaging your blood vessels and nerves, with the American Diabetes Association estimating that ED prevalence among diabetic men ranges from 35-75%.
Metabolic syndrome and obesity can bring changes in blood pressure, cholesterol, body composition, and could lead to erectile dysfunction. Other health conditions that might lead to ED include Peyronie’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, alcoholism, and sleep disorders.
The Psychological Causes of ED
Of all occurrences of ED, 10%-20% are caused by psychological factors. This makes sense because arousal is a complex process that commences in the brain. Therefore, it is clear that having psychological issues can bring about erectile dysfunction.
Mental health complications like depression or anxiety can have a negative impact on your libido, thereby making it hard to achieve an erection. Stress can also be a primary factor as it deters your brain from sending signals to let extra blood to flow to the penis.
How Can I Deal with Erectile Dysfunction?
As mentioned above, the only possible way to deal with the problem is to know the cause. Your doctor will examine you to determine the root cause of your ED.
- Erectile Dysfunction Drugs
ED medications such as tadalafil (Cialis), sildenafil (Viagra), and vardenafil (Levitra), can stimulate blood flow, making it easier to achieve an erection. These drugs must be taken around 30 minutes before engaging in sexual activity.
If psychological issues cause your ED, then you should opt for psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a standard method that is used to help individuals with erectile dysfunction.
If your problem is caused by lifestyle factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, or poor diet, then you need to work on healthy changes to your lifestyle.
Most males have encountered erectile dysfunction at some point. There is no cause for worry when it only happens occasionally. However, if the issue happens more often, you might want to seek professional assistance for the best erectile dysfunction treatment.