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Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is a type of sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual activity.
ED can have psychological consequences as it can be tied to relationship difficulties and self-image.
A variety of causes can increase the risk of developing erectile dysfunction. These include:
- Aging – As men age, they are more likely to experience ED.
- Chronic health conditions – Certain chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, can contribute to ED.
- Medications – Prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause ED. Common culprits include blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, and certain diuretics.
Some lifestyle choices can also contribute to ED. These include:
- Excessive alcohol use
- Illegal drug use
Psychological causes of ED
In some cases, ED can be a sign of an underlying mental health condition. These can include:
Performance anxiety can also cause ED. This type of anxiety can be caused by a fear of failure or a fear of sexual performance.
Treatments for ED
ED can be treated in a number of ways. These include:
- Medications – There are a number of oral medications that can be used to treat ED. These include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra).
- Penile injections – Medications can also be injected directly into the penis to treat ED. These include alprostadil (Caverject), papaverine (Pavabid), and phentolamine (Regitine).
- Vacuum devices – A vacuum device can be used to create an erection. The device consists of a plastic cylinder that is placed over the penis. The cylinder is then connected to a pump that creates a vacuum. This vacuum pulls blood into the penis, which helps to create an erection.
- Surgery – In some cases, surgery may be used to treat ED. This can include surgery to repair damage to the arteries that supply blood to the penis or surgery to repair the nerves that control erections.
- Psychotherapy – In some cases, psychotherapy can be used to treat ED. This can include counseling, cognitive therapy, and sex therapy.