What Are The Causes of ED?
Study data suggests it affects 18 million men over the age of 20 in the United States. It affects men of all ages but becomes increasingly prevalent with age.
Millions of men struggle with it, but shockingly few ever seek treatment. (Source: Forhims.com)
The symptoms of erectile dysfunction include difficulty achieving an erection, trouble maintaining an erection and a reduced interest in sex. Because male sexual arousal is a fairly complex process, it can sometimes be difficult to identify a specific cause.
Arousal starts in the brain, but it also involves the nerves, muscles and blood vessels, and can be impacted by hormones and emotions. If a problem develops with any of these things, erectile dysfunction could be the consequence.
Generally speaking, causes for erectile dysfunction can be divided into two categories: physical and psychological. Though each of these categories has its own set of contributing factors, many cases of erectile dysfunction involve causes from both categories. Here is an overview of each category:
Physical Causes of ED
The most common physical causes of erectile dysfunction are related to circulation and blood pressure. Heart disease, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can all impact the amount of blood flowing to the penis. Diabetes contributes to ED by damaging your nerves and blood vessels. Taking certain medications is also associated with causing or exacerbating ED.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome can cause changes in blood pressure, body composition and cholesterol, which may lead to ED. Other conditions that may contribute to erectile dysfunction include Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Peyronie’s disease, sleep disorders, smoking, alcoholism and drug abuse. Taking certain medications can also increase your risk for ED.
Psychological Causes of ED
In many cases, ED is rooted in psychological issues — especially in men under 40 years of age. Because arousal starts in the brain, psychological issues can be a significant contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. Mental health conditions like depression or anxiety can negatively impact your libido, making it more difficult for you to become aroused.
Stress can also be a major factor because it may interfere with your brain sending signals to allow extra blood to flow to the penis. In many cases, psychological issues develop into performance anxiety which, in and of itself, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Though it can sometimes be difficult to pin down the specific cause for your erectile dysfunction, it is always worth the effort. Left untreated, ED can contribute to worsened stress and anxiety as well as low self-esteem, relationship problems, and impotence. Keep reading to learn about treatment options