Top 5 True Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Though erectile dysfunction (ED) can have many causes, ranging from psychological to physical, the most common causes are usually medical. The following...Read More
Understanding Erectile Dysfunction: Causes & Symptoms
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It’s also sometimes referred to as impotence. Occasional ED isn’t uncommon. Many men experience it during times of stress. Often, erectile dysfunction is a symptom of underlying health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or psychological issues.
Erectile dysfunction can have a range of causes, both physical and psychological. Physical causes include:
- Heart disease. Narrowing of arteries that carry blood to the penis can impede blood flow necessary for an erection.
- Atherosclerosis. This hardening and narrowing of arteries is more common in older men. It can lead to heart disease, which can in turn lead to ED.
- High cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol in your blood can clog arteries and impede blood flow.
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) can damage your arteries and impede blood flow.
- Diabetes. Diabetes can cause nerve damage, leading to ED. It can also impede blood flow to your penis, making it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection.
- Obesity. Obesity can cause hormone problems that affect sexual function as well as impair blood flow.
- Metabolic syndrome. This condition — which is a combination of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — raises your risk of diabetes and heart disease, both of which can cause ED.
- Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease can damage nerves that control erections.
- Multiple sclerosis. This disease of the nervous system can damage nerves that control sexual function.
- Certain prescription medications. Some medications used to treat high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and other disorders can cause or worsen ED.
- Substance abuse. Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse can lead to ED.
Psychological causes of ED can include:
- Stress. Stress from work, family, or other issues can keep you from getting or maintaining an erection.
- Depression. Depression can lead to loss of interest in sex. It can also make it more difficult to get or keep an erection.
- Anxiety. Anxiety about sexual performance can cause sexual dysfunction. It can also lead to ED.
- Relationship problems. If you’re having trouble in your relationship, it can cause ED. Problems can include differing sexual needs or preferences, or feeling close to your partner.
If you’re experiencing ED, it’s important to see your doctor. ED can be a sign of an underlying health condition. Your doctor can conduct a physical exam and order tests to help diagnose your ED. They can also talk to you about treatment options.