What is erectile dysfunction? Well, erectile dysfunction in simple terms is an inability to get an erection or inability to maintain an erection, which allows you to have satisfying sexual intercourse.
The erectile dysfunction is an incredibly common condition, that is anywhere between 5% and 80% of the population experienced it at some point in their lives. It’s quite stigmatized, and men often suffer from that dysfunction in silence, which is a real shame because there are excellent treatments out there.
What are the causes of dysfunction? There are many many causes, but we can separate them into psychological and physical causes.
Psychological causes, as you can imagine, most commonly would be stress-related because your brain actually controls the function of the penis and the blood flow to the penis.
If you’re suffering from any stress, for instance, caused by relationships, financial, work-related stress, etc. it will have a negative impact on your ability to obtain or maintain a healthy erection.
Also, if you’re suffering from depression or any psychological difficulties, that will impact your ability to get an erection.
The physical causes are very varied, and as men get older, they will find it difficult to get a strong erection as they did when they were younger. This is a common occurrence with age and is to be expected but also can be treated.
There are certain physical illnesses or diseases that will lead to erectile dysfunction. These diseases include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, neurological and brain diseases. If you have the trauma of the spinal cord or injuries of the spinal cord, such as following a road traffic accident or a fall, it will also negatively impact your ability to get or maintain an erection.
There are certain drugs that may affect your ability to get or maintain an erection; for example, many antidepressants, antipsychotics, blood pressure medications, prostate medications can cause erectile dysfunction.
If you’ve had prostate surgery or you have an enlarged prostate, these can negatively impact your ability to get or maintain an erection.
There are also hormonal difficulties – you may have low testosterone levels, low thyroid levels, and high levels of a hormone called prolactin in your brain, which may negatively impact your ability to produce testosterone and get or an obtain and maintain a healthy erection.
Another very common cause of erectile dysfunction is cardiovascular disease. If you’ve suffered a previous stroke or heart attack or have any heart disease, if arteries in your heart or your brain are hardened or have plaque buildup in those arteries, you will likely also have that in your penis.
So if you’re worried that you have erectile dysfunction, speak with your local family doctor for further advice and management.