The inability of a man to get or hold an erection long enough to perform sexual intercourse is called Erectile Dusfunction (ED). Sexual arousal for men is a process which involves a number of factors such as blood vessels, nerves, muscles, emotions and hormones. Fluctuations in any of these factors can lead to ED. Although ED is not very uncommon, if experienced frequently, it might be a sign of some underlying health problems. For this, it is important to understand what causes ED.
Let’s walk through the causes of Erectile Dysfunction which are broadly classified into two major types –
1. Physical causes
2. Psychological causes
1. PHYSICAL CAUSES
These are the commonest causes of ED and are further subsided into various causes depending upon the affected system
A. Neurological causes – Conditions affecting the nervous system which is made of spinal cord, brain and nerves.
– Spinal cord injury
– Multiple sclerosis
– Alzheimer disease
– Parkinson’s disease
B. Vascular causes – These are the conditions affecting the circulatory system in turn affecting the blood flow to the penis.
– History of heart attacks
– Atherosclerosis (fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries causing hardening of them)
– High blood pressure
– Sickle cell Anaemia
– Leukaemia ( blood cancer )
C. Hormonal conditions – Hormonal fluctuations such as changes in the levels of testosterone, thyroid as well as prolactin can lead to various disorders In turn causing ED
– Hypogonadism ( condition affecting testosterone production )
– Hypothyroidism ( condition causing low thyroid hormone production)
– Hyperthyroidism ( condition associated with a hyperactive thyroid)
– Cushing’s syndrome ( condition affecting cortisol production )
D. Anatomical conditions – Conditions which affect the structure of oenis such as Peyronie’s disease which causes scar tissue production in the penis.
E. Surgeries and injuries to the physical structure of the penis – Prostate surgery to treat prostate cancer has been known to be one of the causes of ED.
2. PSYCHOLOGICAL CAUSES
These are mental conditions which might be ranging from something as mild and everyday problem as stress to some serious mental illness. They can cause temporary erection problems most of the times and are not exactly called to cause ED.
A. Stress – Stress can be due to anything, work related or something with respect to your relationship with your partner.
B. Fear and anxiety – These go hand in hand, a person having a fear of not being able to sexually satisfy his partner in turn creates anxiety, thereby causing ED.
C. Depression – This basically leads to decreased libido, thereby causing ED in a long run.
D. Poor communication with ones sex partner.
Apart from the above mentioned causes, there are certain drugs which have been known to cause ED and hence must be used with caution and consultation with your doctor.
– Hormonal drugs
– Anti depressants
– Anti Anxiety drugs
– Chemotherapy drugs
– Anti hypertensives
– Sleep inducing drugs