Erectile Dysfunction Causes
Erectile dysfunction (or ED) is the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sex. ED is a complex condition, and there are many different causes of erectile dysfunction, including physical and psychological factors.
A man may experience erectile dysfunction for many reasons. Some factors that influence erections include:
- Blood flow
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Many health conditions can increase the risk of developing frequent erectile dysfunction. These may physically cause ED, such as by affecting the vessels, nerves, hormones, or other systems in the body.
Potential physical causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Low testosterone
- Sleep disorders
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High Cholesterol and lipids
- Atherosclerosis (clogged arteries affect blood flow)
- Tobacco use (restricts blood flow to veins and arteries)
- Nerve issues (damaged nerves, known as neuropathy)
- Some medications, including:
- High blood pressure medications
- Pain medications
- Medications to treat prostate conditions
- Injury leading to poor blood flow to the penis
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Injuries or surgery that impact the spinal cord
In addition to physical conditions, psychological factors may also play a role in erectile dysfunction. Psychological factors that can cause erectile dysfunction:
Any of these factors, or a combination of them, can cause erectile dysfunction.
ED drugs can be an effective way to help improve erections for patients with prevalent erectile dysfunction, but they may not treat underlying conditions causing ED, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and hormone deficiencies. That’s why our providers at Low T Center take a holistic approach to your health. When you come in for ED symptoms, they evaluate your overall health to help treat your ED symptoms, as well as help develop a tailored treatment plan for your total physical and sexual health.
Why Does ED Occur?
When talking about ED, it’s important to understand the different steps of how an erection occurs.
First, arousal begins from mental or sensory stimuli. Your brain then tells your hormones and nerves that it’s aroused and triggers a physical response to the arousal, which allows the two corpora cavernosum (spongy tissues in your penis) to relax and open up. Your corpora cavernosum are typically only partially open, but when you’re aroused, they relax further and allow more blood to flow into the penis. This allows your penis to extend and harden, while the tunica albuginea (the tissue surrounding the corpora cavernosa) help trap the blood inside the corpora cavernosum to maintain the erection.
A problem at any of these different stages may lead to erectile dysfunction.
Why Talk to a Health Care Professional about ED?
Having occasional ED may not be cause for concern. Many men experience occasional ED due to things like stress. For instance, stress over relationship problems, work, or other situations can impact sexual arousal. However, prevalent ED may cause relationship problems and otherwise lead to increased anxiety and stress.
Frequent ED can also be a sign that a man is struggling with an underlying serious health condition that needs treatment. Many factors that can cause ED are also a potential risk factor for heart disease (hypertension, high cholesterol, clogged arteries, and obesity for example). Many cases of ED can be contributed to physical causes.
Stress, self-consciousness, anxiety, and relationship problems can be a cause of ED, but they can also be a result of prevalent erectile dysfunction. Therefore, men experiencing frequent ED symptoms may chalk them up to psychological factors when these can be symptoms of ED with physical causes.
It’s also a common misconception that ED is inevitable with age. This isn’t necessarily true. While your risk for erectile dysfunction increases with age, aging isn’t a direct cause of ED according to medical research. Erectile dysfunction can happen to men at any age, and many men never experience prevalent ED as they get older. Therefore, ED is a health condition you may need to talk to a medical professional about if you’re experiencing frequent erectile dysfunction.
A Low T Center provider can help identify and treat underlying medical conditions that may contribute to or cause erectile dysfunction. In some cases, treating the underlying condition may resolve ED. In other cases, persistent symptoms may require ED drugs or therapy. Our team is here to help customize a treatment plan for you. Take the first step for ED treatment by making an appointment for a comprehensive health assessment today.