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Erectile Dysfunction – Causes
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It can happen to men at any age, but is more common as men get older. Some men with ED are completely unable to get an erection. Others have trouble maintaining an erection for more than a short time.
There are many possible causes of ED, and they can include physical problems, psychological issues, or a combination of both.
Physical Causes of ED
ED can have many physical causes. These include:
- Diseases. Diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, and high cholesterol can all lead to ED.
- Injuries. Nerve damage from surgery, radiation, or trauma can cause ED.
- Certain medications. Drugs used to treat high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and prostate problems can cause ED.
- Peyronie’s disease. This is a condition in which the penis is bent or curved due to a buildup of plaque in the tissues.
- Sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause ED.
Psychological Causes of ED
Psychological issues are often the main cause of ED in younger men. These can include:
- Anxiety. Performance anxiety can be a cause of ED. This is the fear of being unable to maintain an erection during sexual intercourse.
- Depression. Depression can cause ED by leading to changes in the brain that affect sexual function.
- Stress. Stress from work, family, or financial problems can cause ED.
- Relationship problems. If you are having trouble with your partner, this can cause ED.
Treatments for ED
The treatment for ED will depend on the cause. If the cause is physical, you may need to see a doctor who specializes in sexual dysfunction. If the cause is psychological, you may need to see a therapist or counselor. If the cause is a combination of both, you may need to see both a doctor and a therapist.
Treatments for ED can include:
- Oral medications. These are drugs that you take by mouth. They include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra).
- Injections. These are drugs that you inject into the penis. They include alprostadil (Caverject) and papaverine (Pavabid).
- Implants. These are devices that are surgically placed into the penis. They include inflatable (Semirigid) and semirigid rods.
- Vacuum devices. These devices are placed over the penis. They use a vacuum to draw blood into the penis. This causes an erection.
- Counseling. This can help if the cause of ED is psychological.