What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

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Don’t assume you’re the only one dealing with difficulty getting an erection; many men struggle with it. It is unfortunate that rather than seeking assistance, men tend to stay quiet about this topic.

Regretfully, difficulties in achieving or maintaining an erection and the need to be taciturn on the subject are becoming more wide-spread among males of all ages. Even teenagers seem to face this issue. Something must be done about it.

The first step in addressing the issue should be to become informed on the subject. If you have a similar opinion, this article may be useful to you.

Common Causes of Erection Problems

In order to comprehend why erectile dysfunction takes place, it is essential to have knowledge regarding how an erection is created. Through past occasions, you likely understand that when a man becomes sexually stimulated, an erection occurs. When that occurs, the brain emits substances along the nerve path which stimulates a larger blood flow toward the penis.

The blood then circulates within two chambers that are made of sponge-like muscle, known as the corpora cavernosa, within the penis.

For an erection to be achieved, the chambers must loosen and contain the blood inside them. In order to ease up the cavities, the bloodstream conveys nitric oxide inside it, which is a substance that encourages the veins to broaden and loosen up. The pressure of the blood inside these chambers keeps the penis hard and stiff in its fully erect state.

Once the man has an orgasm, a sequence of events in the opposite direction begins. The result is that the chambers become smaller, enabling the blood to go back into circulation. This will allow the erection to come down.

Erectile dysfunction prevents a healthy erection from taking place. The man is feeling aroused, yet he is unable to get and keep an adequate erection during sex. It is a fact that a vast majority of men have gone through, or will go through, a situation where they have difficulty obtaining an erection at least once in their life. Sometimes experiencing difficulty getting an erection is not something to worry about. Occasional impotence is common and typically does not require any type of medical assistance, however, persistent difficulty with achieving or maintaining an erection requires prompt medical attention.

Reoccurring erectile dysfunction could point to an underlying medical problem. Not treating it increases the possibility of a wide range of possible physical health issues and problems.

To treat the problem, doctors must first understand what is causing it. This is where they face the first challenge. Identifying erectile dysfunction can be difficult due to the range of potential causes. The cause of the majority of cases is commonly both physical and psychological.

Physical Causes

Issues pertaining to achieving an erection are more commonly observed among elderly gentlemen. In this situation, erectile dysfunction is the result of a physical problem that hinders the transmission of nerve impulses and/or the circulation of blood in the penis.

There could be various medical concerns contributing to the occurrence of erectile dysfunction. These are the most common ones:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Low testosterone
  • Obesity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis, etc.

The most common physical issue appears to be the decrease in testosterone which happens naturally. Along with impotence, decreased testosterone levels may lead to decreased libido, loss of muscle mass, irritability, balding, weight increase, etc. Smoking as well as certain drugs such as beta-blockers and water tablets, can elevate one’s likelihood of experiencing erectile dysfunction.

Treatment for prostate cancer can sometimes be the reason for difficulties with achieving an erection, although cancer itself is not the cause. The typical course of action consists of hormone therapy, radiation treatment, and sometimes surgical intervention. A radical prostatectomy is a procedure that involves taking out the prostate gland and the nearby tissues. This leads to erection problems. Radiation and hormone therapy can lead to a decline in testosterone levels, which has a detrimental impact on the body’s total testosterone production.

Psychological Causes

It may come as a surprise to find out that many instances of erectile dysfunction are attributable to psychological reasons. A mental issue can affect someone of any age, not like a physical condition. The most common psychological factors are:

  • Performance anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems, etc.

Erection Problems in Young Men

Surveys indicate that roughly half of middle-aged males in their 50s experience some form of mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. Approximately one-fifth of males in their seventies experience full erectile dysfunction. However, scientists maintain that issues with getting an erection start far in advance.

Physicians are noting an increasing occurrence of erectile dysfunction among younger patients. A research paper presented in The Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that as many as 26% of people aged 17-40 suffer from problems of this nature. Up to 25% of people with erectile dysfunction are under the age of 30.

Researchers surmise that the rise in tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug consumption among adolescents is potentially linked.

Diagnosing Erection Problems

  • Physical exam – The doctor will perform a complete examination of the penis and the testicles. He may also test the bulbocavernosus reflex, which will allow an evaluation of the nerve sensation in the penis.
  • Blood tests – Doing complete blood work will help the doctor rule out possible causes. Using blood tests, the doctor will check against signs of erections problems such as diabetes, low testosterone, heart disease, etc.
  • Urine tests – Similar to blood tests, urine tests can also help rule out specific potential causes such as diabetes or some other health problem.
  • Ultrasound – For the doctor to check the blood flow to the penis, he will need to perform an ultrasound. Using a transductor, the doctor will examine each blood vessel that supplies the penis with blood and the nutrients required. This is an invasive diagnostic method that provides quite helpful information regarding erectile dysfunction.
  • Psychological tests – If there is no apparent physical cause, the urologist may recommend that you consult a psychologist. Because stress and depression can be common causes of sexual dysfunction, the psychologist will use questions to screen for depression and/or anxiety. It is important to remember that you are in a safe space where you can share all your worries and anxieties that can help diagnose the problem’s root.

Treating Underlying Conditions

If the reason for your difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection is due to a medical condition, like coronary artery disease or diabetes, it is necessary to remedy that issue before treating your symptoms of erectile dysfunction. In certain situations, treating the root cause could also resolve the issue.

If you are taking a drug that could lead to impotence, there might be another choice. It is essential to carry on taking a medicine prescribed by your doctor or any other healthcare specialist in charge of your care unless instructed otherwise.

Lifestyle Changes

Erectile dysfunction can often be improved by making changes to your lifestyle, such as:

These adjustments can not only make a difference in your erectile dysfunction but they can also better your general well-being and can possibly decrease your likelihood of cardiovascular diseases.

Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) Inhibitors

PDE-5 inhibitors are a commonly used and successful medication to help with erectile dysfunction. They function by temporarily boosting the flow of blood to your penis.

In England, there are four medications that can be used to treat erectile dysfunction, and they are known as PDE-5 inhibitors. They are:

  • sildenafil – sold under the brand name Viagra
  • tadalafil – sold under the brand name Cialis
  • vardenafil – sold under the brand name Levitra
  • avanafil – sold under the brand name Spedra

The three drugs, sildenafil, vardenafil, and avanafil, offer a duration of effectiveness of up to eight hours and can be taken whenever needed. Tadalafil can remain effective in the body for up to 36 hours, making it a great choice if you need a treatment option that lasts longer, like over a weekend.

Depending on the kind of PDE-5 inhibitor you have taken and the amount of it, you should expect it to become effective in between thirty and sixty minutes. You should be able to engage in intercourse from one to 10 hours post the consumption of sildenafil, vardenafil, or avanafil. The effects of tadalafil can be expected to endure for a maximum of 36 hours.

The results of the tablets may not be as quickly visible if taken with a meal, so it’s best to take them when there is no food in the stomach. After an hour, you can consume food without having any impact on the medication.

Only take one tablet within a 24-hour period.

Your doctor should inform you of the advantages of each medicine and how it functions. The choice may depend on the following:

  • how often are you sexually active
  • whether you have tried any of the medications before

Research has been conducted to gauge the usefulness of these drugs. In the majority of cases, men report an improvement in their erections when taking one of these medications.

If you do not find that PDE-5 inhibitors are effective, it may be because:

  • you have not waited long enough after taking the dose
  • you have waited too long after taking the dose
  • the dose is not high enough
  • you have not had enough sexual stimulation

In order for these drugs to work, they must be activated by sexual arousal, so you have to be in the mood for it.


If your ED is not relieved by existing treatment methods, such as using PDE-5 inhibitors or a vacuum pump, you may be prescribed a medicine called alprostadil. This hormone is manufactured by humans and works to boost the circulation of blood to the penis.

Alprostadil is available as:

  • an injection directly into your penis – this is called an intracavernosal injection
  • a small pellet placed inside your urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the tip of your penis) – this is called urethral application

You may be able to learn how to correctly administer alprostadil through injection or insertion. If your significant other is expecting, during intercourse, ensure that a prophylactic is used when alprostadil is being inserted into the tube, which carries urine out of the body.

It typically takes between five to 15 minutes for Alprostadil to stimulate an erection. The duration of the erection will depend on the amount of the dose.

85 out of 100 men who had not had success with PDE-5 inhibitors responded positively to alprostadil injections. Around two-thirds of men find that using alprostadil (medication) inserted into the urethra is effective.

Hormone Therapy

If erectile dysfunction is connected to a hormone imbalance, you might be sent to an endocrinologist for further examination.

Hormones are chemicals produced by the body. Injections of man-made hormones are used as a treatment for a variety of hormonal imbalances to bring hormone levels back to an appropriate level.


If all other therapies for erectile dysfunction have been unsuccessful, then surgery might be offered as a viable option. It may also be considered in:

Males who are youthful in age have suffered critical harm to their pelvic region, e.g., from a motor vehicle mishap.

men with a significant anatomical problem with their penis

In the past, surgery was employed when it was plainly evident that the flow of blood to the penis was blocked. The surgeon could clear the blockage of the blood vessels to allow for a regular flow of blood. Studies now show that long-term outcomes of this operation are not good, so it is not likely to be employed.

Psychological Treatments

If you find psychological factors to be the source of your erectile dysfunction, then you may gain benefit from undergoing a form of therapy known as sensate focus.

If anxiety or depression are causing your erectile dysfunction, it may help to talk to a counselor about it.

Psychosexual Counselling

Psychosexual counseling is a type of relationship therapy in which you and your partner can talk about any emotional or sexual problems that may be causing your erectile dysfunction. Discussing your concerns may help to ease your tension and conquer your erectile dysfunction.

The counselor may be able to offer guidance with regard to how to employ other approaches to treating erectile dysfunction in order to boost the enjoyment and fulfillment of your sex life.

Psychosexual therapy can be a lengthy process, and the effectiveness of the outcomes can vary.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a kind of counseling that may be beneficial if you have issues with getting an erection. The idea behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that the emotions a person feels are partially determined by the thoughts they have about the situation. CBT assists you in understanding that your issues can often be the result of your outlook. The unhappiness you are feeling is not caused by the circumstance but by the way you perceive and respond to it.

Your CBT therapist can help you to identify any unhelpful or unrealistic thoughts that may be contributing to your erectile dysfunction – for example, to do with:

  • your self-esteem
  • your sexuality
  • your personal relationships

Your CBT therapist can assist you in changing your thoughts on these matters to be more rational and constructive.

Complementary Therapies

It has been purported that acupuncture and other complementary therapies can be used to treat issues such as erectile dysfunction. However, there is little evidence they are useful.

In certain circumstances, there could be elements present that could interact with other drugs, potentially resulting in negative reactions.

Consult with your doctor prior to utilizing any alternative treatments.


Great levels of satisfaction come from one’s sexual activity. Contemplate the idea of not being able to have a deep, meaningful connection with your spouse. The cause of this was a stubborn health difficulty like impotence.

An increasing number of men globally appear to be suffering from impotence. It is even worse than this problem appears to no longer target people based on their age. No matter if smoking cigarettes, stress, or the decrease in natural testosterone is the cause, issues with getting an erection can occur in your life.

The key inquiry is – How can this issue be addressed? There are lots of potential solutions to investigate. Depending on the root of the problem, your physician can help you deal with it and get back to enjoying time in the bedroom. Do not hesitate to ask for help. Consult your doctor today.


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