Erectile dysfunction in men can be devastating to most. ED can break even the strongest egos, and yet many times, the cause is a simple one that is easily rectified.
Sexual arousal is more complex than many people believe. The process of an erection involves the brain, nerves, blood vessels, emotions, muscles, and hormones. Even feelings of anxiety about getting or maintaining an erection can prevent it from happening, making the occasional episode of ED into a chronic one.
Common Symptoms of ED
Men suffering from ED often experience one or more of the following:
- Difficulty getting an erection
- Difficulty maintaining an erection
- Reduced sex drive
- Feelings of low self-esteem
- Embarrassment or guilty feelings
Other sexual disorders that tend to go hand in hand with ED include:
- The inability to orgasm, even after prolonged stimulation
- Premature ejaculation
- Delayed ejaculation
Why Do These Problems Occur?
For most men, when they become sexually aroused, blood fills the penis and the muscles, hormones, and nerves act in combination to make an erection. When this process is interrupted, ED is said to have occurred.
Some men only experience ED only occasionally. Others experience these interruptions often and find that it interferes with their sex life as well as the overall quality of their lives.
There is a wide range of causes for ED. Some of the most common are:
- Sleep disorders
- Heart disease
- Scar tissue in the penis (Peyronie’s Disease)
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Nerve problems
- Brain or spinal cord injury
- A lack of sufficient testosterone (Hypogonadism)
- Kidney disease
- MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Recreational drugs
Some medications are also known to affect ED, such as:
- Anti-seizure medications
- Blood pressure medication
- Prostate cancer drugs
- Drugs for Parkinson’s disease
- Muscle relaxants
- Sedatives or tranquilizers
- Histamine H2-receptor antagonists
- Chemotherapy medications
For some men, there are also psychological reasons for ED:
- Relationship problems
- Feeling nervous or anxious about sexual encounters
- Other mental health disorders
- Body image
- Performance concerns
- Prior sexual abuse, childhood sexual abuse, or prior humiliation
Men should also remember that hormone levels play a big part in their sex lives. Doctors can check your hormone levels using a simple blood test.
Smoking reduces blood flow to the penis, and excessive drinking can also lead to ED. Surgeries on the back or pelvic area or damage that has occurred in these areas from accidents can also lead to ED.
Don’t be embarrassed or hesitant to speak with a health care professional about any problem you might be having. Everyone deserves a healthy, satisfying sex life. Men suffering from ED should speak to their doctors and give them a complete medical history, as well as telling the doctor about all the drugs you take, even recreational ones.