Erectile dysfunction is a medical condition that is becoming more commonly discussed as more men are being affected. It is a very personal and sensitive subject, but it is important that those who are affected by it understand what causes it. In this article, we will explore the main causes of erectile dysfunction in men and ways in which they can seek help and support.
Main causes of erectile dysfunction:
1. Heart disease:
Heart disease can impede the normal flow of blood to the penis, leading to erectile dysfunction, or ED. People with ED have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. Having any type of cardiovascular disease can increase the risk of developing ED, even in men who don’t yet show symptoms of heart trouble. Proper treatment for any kind of heart problem, such as a changing of lifestyle, medications and operations, can help reduce the risk of developing ED.
2. Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis):
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis), which restricts blood flow to the penis. This can happen as a result of unhealthy lifestyle habits such as unhealthy diet, smoking, or lack of physical activity. Treatment for ED often focuses on addressing the underlying cause of the problem. This usually involves lifestyle modifications and medications that help open up the blood vessels and improve blood flow.
3. High cholesterol:
High cholesterol levels in the body can lead to a narrowing of the arteries, reducing blood flow to the penis and leading to erectile dysfunction. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or LDL, is considered the bad cholesterol because of its tendency to accumulate in the arterial walls, blocking the flow of blood to the penis.
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4. High blood pressure:
High blood pressure can be a leading cause of erectile dysfunction. This high pressure can interfere with the ability of the blood vessels to open properly and let enough blood flow to create an erection. Left untreated, high blood pressure can damage the body's organs, including the penis, leading to erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common complication of diabetes and occurs in up to 75% of men with diabetes. ED is caused when nerve damage and inadequate blood flow to the penis disrupt its normal function. People with diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases which can further reduce blood flow to the penis and cause ED. Treatment for ED generally includes lifestyle changes and medical interventions.
Obesity is a serious risk factor for erectile dysfunctioning, as it increases the risk of several vascular diseases which can lead to ED. Being obese increases the chance of having high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, hypertension, and diabetes, all of which can impair the functioning of healthy arteries and impede the flow of oxygenated blood.
7. Metabolic syndrome:
Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and excess body fat around the waist, increases the risk of erectile dysfunction due to the associated cardiovascular disease. The vascular damage caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obesity can limit the amount of blood flow to the penis, leading to ED. Treating the underlying metabolic syndrome can help to improve and prevent ED.
8. Parkinson's disease:
Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that can cause a variety of symptoms, including erectile dysfunction. People with Parkinson's may experience difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection due to changes in the nerves and muscles that control sexual function. Treatment options are available to manage or reduce symptoms.
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9. Sedentary lifestyle:
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is increasingly been linked to a sedentary lifestyle. Men who sit for long periods may reduce their blood flow to the reproductive organs, and decreased muscle building which can affect sexual performance. Additionally, a lack of physical activity has a link to metabolic disorders and obesity, which can contribute to ED.
10. Medication side effects:
Medication side effects can be a cause of erectile dysfunctioning. Common medications that are in link with causing erectile dysfunction include antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, antihistamines and statins. If medication side effects are responsible for erectile dysfunction, consulting with a physician may be necessary to adjust the dosage or change the medication altogether.
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Q.1 How long will ED treatment take?
Treatment depends on the cause, severity, and individual needs. Some treatments such as medications may take up to 4 weeks to take effect and other treatments such as lifestyle modifications and counseling may take longer.
Q.2 Will ED go away on its own?
Possibly, but it is best to seek medical attention to properly diagnose and treat the underlying cause.
Q.3 Is ED only an elderly man's problem?
No, ED can affect men of any age and is not necessarily a natural part of aging.
Q.4 Are there any less invasive treatments available for ED?
Yes, many treatments are available that are less invasive such as taking medications, using external devices, and lifestyle modifications.
Q.5 Does treatment for ED require a prescription?
Yes, most medications for ED are only available by prescription.
Q.6 Is it possible to treat ED without prescription medications?
Yes, lifestyle modifications, external devices and penile injection therapy can be in use as alternatives to prescription medications.