Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED, is a common sexual problem in the United States, affecting as many as 30 million men. It is the inability to get and maintain an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. Although it is common for men to have erection problems from time to time, erectile dysfunction is a progressive issue that can affect your self-confidence and can contribute to problems in your relationship. It can also be a sign of an underlying condition, and you should visit Lewisville Lakepointe Direct Primary Care for diagnosis and treatment to improve your quality of life.
What causes erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can be due to various brain issues, hormones, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and emotions. Because male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves all these factors, a problem with any of these can result in erectile dysfunction. Examples of physical causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Neurological disorders. When nerves that send impulses to the brain get damaged, you may have problems getting or maintaining an erection. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, and uncontrolled diabetes damage nerves, causing erectile dysfunction.
- Vascular disease. For an erection to occur, nerves release chemicals that increase blood flow to the penis. Therefore, medical problems that affect blood supply can interfere with erection. For example, Atherosclerosis which is the hardening of the arteries, can block or limit blood supply, causing symptoms such as erectile dysfunction.
Other physical causes of erectile dysfunction include alcoholism, tobacco use, certain prescription medication, injuries, and treatments for prostate cancer.
The brain is essential in triggering physical events such as increased blood flow to the penis, facilitating an erection. Certain psychological factors can interfere with sexual feelings, contributing to or worsening erectile dysfunction. For example, mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can cause problems getting or maintaining an erection. Other times relationship problems due to poor communication and stress contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Risk factors for erectile dysfunction
As you get older, you may need more sexual stimulation to get an erection, and it might not be as firm. You may also tend to take longer to develop an erection. Therefore, the risk of this sexual problem increases as you become older. Other factors that increase your susceptibility include:
- Medical conditions such as diabetes and heart problems.
- Medications such as antidepressants and drugs treat prostate conditions and high blood pressure.
- Tobacco use. The nicotine in tobacco constricts blood flow to blood vessels and may cause chronic health problems that lead to erectile dysfunction.
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Long-term drug use
- Injuries to the nerves or blood vessels that control erections
- Treatments such as prostate surgery and radiation therapy for cancer
Most men with erectile dysfunction may not seek help due to being embarrassed. However, treatment can help you avoid unsatisfactory sex life and relationship problems.
If you have erectile dysfunction symptoms such as trouble getting and keeping an erection and reduced sex drive, talk to your doctor at Lakepointe Direct Primary Care for treatment to improve your sex life.