What is causing your erectile dysfunction?

man with erectile dysfunctionAny man who finds himself unable to achieve or maintain an erection for more than a few weeks should visit his doctor to determine the cause. But, in today’s day and age many patients turn to Google before scheduling a visit with their GP, especially when it comes to embarrassing health conditions.

Erectile dysfunction is very common and can have a range of different causes. This list can help you evaluate the possible reasons behind it before you visit your GP. Keep in mind that a professional diagnosis must be made before you buy Viagra or any other medicines; treatment for ED must be carried out under the supervision of a doctor.

Psychological factors

Depression and anxiety are examples of psychological conditions that can prevent a man from being able to perform.

There are also emotional causes that can cause anxiety and ED. These including lack of sexual experience, past sexual abuse, problems in the relationship, or traumatic events like the recent loss of a loved one.

Any psychological or emotional issues that reduce libido or cause anxiety can affect the ability to achieve an erection.

Physical factors

Physical causes of ED can be broken down into four principal types: vasculogenic conditions, which affect blood flow to the penis; neurogenic conditions, which affect elements of the nervous system (brain, nerves and spinal cord); anatomical conditions, which affect the structure of the penis, and hormonal conditions.

Surgery in or around the pelvic area and head injuries can also cause erectile dysfunction.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, falls under vasculogenic conditions, and is one of the most common causes of ED. In this case your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking, losing weight and adopting healthier eating habits, as many of the factors that cause atherosclerosis are also risk factors for heart disease. Not only may your sex life improve, you are more likely to live longer to enjoy it!

Certain medicines

If you are taking a prescribed medication and are unable to achieve an erection, speak to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe an alternative.

Medicines that can cause ED include:

  • Antihypertensives
  • Diuretics
  • Fibrates
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antihistamines
  • Antipsychotics
  • Cytotoxics
  • Antidepressants
  • Medicines for Parkinson’s Disease
  • Lipid-lowering medicines
  • Heartburn medicines

See Medicine linked to ED page.

Alcohol and substance-related erectile dysfunction

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause erection problems due to the widening and relaxing of the blood vessels. Recreational drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana can also affect a man’s ability to achieve an erection.

There is also the possibility that many hours of cycling can affect the blood vessels leading to the penis and cause ED. Your GP will ask you questions about your lifestyle, eating, and exercise habits, including whether you smoke. The nicotine in cigarettes affects the blood vessels that carry blood to the penis.

Before beginning treatment it is important to understand the cause of your erectile dysfunction, not only because it can be a warning sign of heart disease and other illnesses but so that you can follow a correct treatment plan. This information can help you understand possible causes of your condition.