Erectile Dysfunction Causes & Treatments
What No Guy Wants to Talk About
Let’s call it the elephant in the bedroom. Something isn’t working right and you need to fix it.
When you suffer from ED, you’re asking yourself one question: “Is erectile dysfunction permanent?” Making lifestyle changes can help improve your ED, but there are some factors you’ll have to talk to your doctor about.
Learn the causes of erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence) and how you can stop it.
Mental Factors Can Cause Problems
For some people, sex isn’t as enjoyable as it could be. Depression, stress, and fatigue can cause erectile dysfunction by disrupting feelings of sexual excitement in the brain (Mayo Clinic, 2012). While sex can be a stress reliever, ED can make sex stressful.
Relationship problems are also a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction. Arguments, stress, and bad communication can make the bedroom an uncomfortable place. This is where open, honest communication comes in.
Bad News About Bad Habits
If you were looking for a reason to finally quit smoking or cut down on your drinking, you just found one. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, and other substance abuse—including too much caffeine from coffee and energy drinks—all constrict blood vessels (NKUDIC, 2010).
Because an erection works by hydraulic effect from blood traveling to the penis, constricted blood vessels from these bad habits may prevent a full erection.
Time to Lose Some Weight
Obesity is a common cause for impotence. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are also tied to obesity—and erectile dysfunction. They all pose significant health risks and affect sexual performance (Mayo Clinic, 2012).
Cardiovascular exercise—swimming, running, biking, etc.—helps shed pounds and increases oxygen and blood flow throughout the body (including your penis). Added bonus: a slimmer, tighter physique will probably get your partner’s attention, too.
ED as a Side Effect
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by several other physical problems besides obesity and obesity-related diseases, including:
- clogged blood vessels
- low testosterone levels
- Parkinson’s disease
- multiple sclerosis
- metabolic syndrome
More causes of ED are explained on the next slide.
Peyronie’s Disease & Surgery
Peyronie’s disease involves abnormal bending of the penis during an erection. This can cause erectile dysfunction as fibrous scar tissue develops under the skin of the penis (NIH, 2012). Other symptoms of Peyronie’s include pain during an erection and during intercourse.
Surgeries or injuries in the pelvic or lower spinal region can also cause erectile dysfunction. Depending on the physical cause of your ED, some medical treatments—which are explained next—may be needed.
Treatments for Impotence
Besides quitting bad habits and starting good ones, there are several ways to treat erectile dysfunction. The most common treatment is oral medication. Three common brands are Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra (NKUDIC, 2010). However, if you’re taking other medications or have other health concerns, those may not be right for you. Other treatments include:
- self-injection of medication
- testosterone therapy
- penile pumps, implants, or surgery
Getting Started on a Solution
The first—and biggest—hurdle to correcting your erectile dysfunction is getting the courage to talk about it, either with your partner or your doctor. The quicker you do that, the sooner you’ll get to finding the possible cause of impotence and finding the right treatment for impotence.
Learn more about erectile dysfunction, and get the solutions you need to get back to the active sex life you want.