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Erectile dysfunction (Impotence) – Causes of Erectile Dysfunction | What is it?

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What is erectile dysfunction?

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a condition where a man is unable to attain or maintain firm enough erection of the penis to carry out sexual activity. In this article, you will know everything about causes of erectile dysfunctions and What is Erectile dysfunction?

This is also called as impotence but the doctors generally try to avoid using this term.

Erectile dysfunction is different from another sexual problem men may face called premature ejaculation. In premature ejaculation the person is able to attain a good erection but tends to ejaculate soon after penetration of the penis (less than a minute).

Erectile dysfunction is not an uncommon condition especially in men above 40 years of age. The condition can have a significant impact on one’s self-confidence and relationships. Moreover, it is also considered an important indicator of underlying cardiovascular disease and thus warrants a proper medical assessment.

You may feel uncomfortable talking to your doctor or may find it unnecessary at an old age, however erectile dysfunction is considered a condition that can be treated at any age.

How many men are affected by erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is said to affect about 6% of men between the age of 20-29 years which increasing markedly to 50-70% between the age of 40-79 years. It is estimated to increase significantly affecting about 32 crore men by the year 2025.

India is considered the erectile dysfunction capital of the world due to the largest number of the male population and high occurrence of lifestyle diseases in them.

How the penis becomes erect on sexual stimulus?

Erection of penis though appears as a spontaneous response, has a complex mechanism behind it that involves an interplay of hormones, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles.

When a man experiences a sexual stimulus in the form of touch, sexual images, or thoughts, his brain sends nerve signals to the penis. On receiving the signals, the muscles of the penis (corpora cavernosa) become relaxed and allow the blood to get accumulated in the spongy tissue of the penis. This causes muscles of the penis to get engorged with blood, allowing it to increase in size and become firm.

After this the draining blood vessels shut off preventing the blood to flow out, maintaining the erection. Once orgasm is achieved or the person no longer feels aroused the draining vessels open up flowing out the blood back, resulting in the flaccid state of the penis. let’s talk about the causes of Erectile dysfunction as we have already covered what is Erectile dysfunction?

What are the causes of erectile dysfunction?

Anything that interferes in the above mechanism starting from perceiving a sexual stimulus to shutting of the draining blood vessels of the penis, can cause erectile dysfunction. The problem may affect any level of the interplay of the emotions, hormone, nerve, or blood vessels.

Stress and emotional issues can play an important role in causing or aggravating the condition.

Thus, a number of things can lead to erectile dysfunction. In general, these causes of Erectile dysfunction have been categorized into two main categories: physical causes of Erectile dysfunction and psychological causes of Erectile dysfunction.


Physical causes of Erectile dysfunction:

• Heart disease

• Blood vessels disease- accumulation of plaque (atherosclerosis)

• High blood pressure


• High cholesterol

• Obesity

• Metabolic syndrome- a condition where u may have multiple lifestyle conditions such as high blood pressure, high insulin levels, high cholesterol, and increased body fat around the waist.

Chronic kidney disease

• Multiple sclerosis

• Peyronie’s disease

• Parkinson’s disease

• Treatments of prostate cancer, such as radiation therapy and surgery

• Injury to the penis, pelvis, spinal cord, prostate or bladder

• Surgery for bladder cancer


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Psychological causes of Erectile dysfunction:

The brain plays an important role in attaining an erection starting from interpreting a sexual stimulus to the end of an orgasm. Thus a number of psychological or emotional factors that affect brain functioning can bring about erectile dysfunction or make it worse.

• Anxiety


• Stress in life and relationship with your partner

• Fear and worry of sexual failure

• Guilt about sexual activity

• Poor self-esteem

Certain behavior and consumption of specific medicines may also lead to erectile dysfunction. These are as follows:

Behaviors: Smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, using illicit drugs, physical inactivity.

Medicines: blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, sedatives or tranquilizers, medicines used for prostate cancer, ulcer medicines, or appetite suppressants.

know more…

Who is more prone to develop erectile dysfunction?

You are more prone to develop erectile dysfunction if you have the following conditions:

• Older age: it is more commonly seen after the age of 40 years, where the chances increase with increasing age.

• Medical conditions such as heart and blood vessel diseases, diabetes, etc.

• Being overweight or obese

• History of tobacco use

• History of alcohol and drug consumption

• History of certain treatments such as radiation therapy or surgery for prostate cancer

• History of intake of certain medicines such as antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, and others

• Certain psychological or emotional issues such as stress, anxiety or depression

Read about how certain factors can cause or contribute to ED

What are the complications of erectile dysfunction?

After the causes of Erectile dysfunction you should also know about its complications. Erectile dysfunction may lead to the following complications:

• Poor and unsatisfactory sex life

• Lack of intimacy and strained relationship amongst partners

• Inability to get your partner pregnant. These issues may eventually lead to divorce

• Poor self-esteem and confidence affecting other parts of life

Depression, anxiety, and stress which can further contribute to erectile dysfunction leading to a vicious cycle

These issues may significantly affect a person mentally and physically causing tremendous suffering.


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What are the signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

Signs and Symptoms of erectile dysfunction may consist of the following:

• Inability to get an erection to have sex. This may occur occasionally or every time when u try to have sex and is graded as mild, moderate, and severe.

• Being able to get an erection, but having trouble maintaining it to have sex.

• Any of this may be accompanied by reduced sex drive.

When you should consult a doctor?

• You should consult a doctor if you have trouble getting or maintaining an erection.

• When you are facing other sexual problems such as premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, or poor sex drive.

• You have other health conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, and others.

• A person should also consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist if he is under stress, depression, or other psychological issues related to erectile dysfunction.

How do doctors diagnose erectile dysfunction?

To diagnose erectile dysfunction you need to consult a doctor usually a urologist who would take a proper medical, personal, and sexual history. He would then examine your sexual organs followed by some blood tests and special tests.

How erectile dysfunction is treated?

The treatment of erectile dysfunction can be done by following methods:

• Treatment of the underlying cause

• Treatment with medicines


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