6 Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction And How To Treat Each

by Webmd Men Staff
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Erectile dysfunction is an increasing problem affecting men of all ages. Unfortunately, not all affected want to talk about it for fear of embarrassment. Some refuse to seek help thinking they’re walking alone in this less known path. But this is further from the truth.

With about 600,000 new cases each year, millions of men are struggling with ED. No matter how shameful this may seem, erectile dysfunction should be diagnosed and treated.

Erectile dysfunction or ED occurs when men have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse or ejaculation. During sexual arousal, blood vessels in the penis dilate for more blood flow to enter. This creates pressure causing the penis to swell and stiffen. Insufficient blood flow makes it hard for an erection to form.

Men normally have random erections even without physical or psychological stimulation. These are presumed to be caused by the hormonal changes that are taking place in the body during sleep or by direct contact with the sheets. However, it’s also normal for men not to get an erection all the time, especially when they’re stressed or consumed alcohol heavily. When erectile problems happen frequently, then it can be an indication that you’re suffering from ED.

Erectile dysfunction is not a disease in itself. It only serves as your body’s warning device that signals something isn’t right somewhere. Your ED might be caused by health problems like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cholesterol or as a side effect by your medications. Here’s a closer look at the possible causes of ED.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction


taking medicationsWhenever you’re on prescription medicines, don’t get surprised when you have erectile problems. It’s often a side effect of medication or even over the counter drugs. These drugs contain chemicals that can interfere with normal blood flow. Since a large number of nerves are found in your sex organs, your sexual functions are affected and likely o suffer. Don’t be afraid of discussing the issue with your doctor. Ask for the right alternative.

Treatment: Ask for other medication alternatives that are less likely to cause sexual side effects. Tell your doctor what you’re taking including herbal supplements and vitamins.

Recreational drugs

There are men who want to treat their ED with recreational drugs even without a prescription. Men having erectile problems enhance their sexual encounters by using both ED drugs and recreational drugs such as alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

Other men who don’t suffer from ED but want to enhance their sexual performance use illegal drugs. Unfortunately, recreational drugs are harmful and can affect the nervous system. When the blood vessels get serious damage, erectile dysfunction is likely to occur.

Treatment: Make sure to consult with a health professional before taking any ED drugs. Quit alcohol and other recreational drugs consumption.


Erectile dysfunction is most common in men who have diabetes. This is a problem that’s unavoidable and can only be remedied by prevention and treatment options. Poor blood sugar control, when prolonged, can cause damage to nerve and blood vessels resulting in erectile dysfunction.

Men with diabetes are advised to talk to their doctor about the treatment, possible side effects like ED, how to better manage their diabetes, and check the medications that might be worsening their ED symptoms.

Treatment: Ask for oral medications that can treat your diabetes and ease the blood flow to your penis at the same time, helping you get an erection. A lot of these pills are available. Ask your doctor for the right choice for you.


While cycling can be one of the best forms of exercise, doing it too often may not bring you good news. Cycling has been strongly linked with ED. This is because cycling can put pressure on your pudendal artery, the organ that serves oxygenated blood to the external genitalia. Pressure on this organ results to penile numbness and impotence.

If you’re cycling and aren’t feeling anything unusual, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you’re cycling and having problems with ED, consult your doctor about it and see if an underlying health condition links the two.

Treatment: Avoid using a bike seat with a long narrow nose, which is found to reduce the blood flow to the penis. Avoid tilting your seat upward and see to it it’s at a correct height. Wearing padded biking pants also add protection.

Psychological problems

Studies revealed that 10 to 20 percent of erectile dysfunction are caused by psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and low self-esteem. These are problems that normally occur in a day to day life. When these issues aren’t addressed and managed the way they should, sexual functions may get affected. You may suffer from erectile dysfunction, which can hamper your relationship when you fail to discuss it with your significant other.

Treatment: Anti-depressants are found to cause erectile problems. If you’re using them to treat mental issues, ask your doctor for a prescription or treatment that has a lesser negative effect on your sexual life. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also an effective treatment for psychological issues. Relaxation techniques also work best.

obesity and erectile dysfunction Obesity

Obesity is also linked with ED. If you don’t watch your weight, you’re likely to hamper your sexual life. Men who are overweight are more likely to suffer from ED compared to men with normal weight. Obesity is often associated with heart problems and there’s a strong link between heart and sexual issues. Studies even confirmed that ED is a strong indicator of cardiovascular diseases and a predictor of future strokes and heart attacks.

Treatment: when your extra weight is giving you sexual issues, you can overcome this challenge by lifestyle and diet changes. Shed those extra pounds through diet or exercise, which can also help increase your sexual desire. Watch your health and improve your cardio.

Other Erectile Dysfunction Treatments

Your doctor may give you a physical exam and a review of your symptoms. More tests are recommended when serious conditions are a threat.

  • Erectile dysfunction drugs

Your doctor may prescribe you specific drugs that can stimulate proper blood flow to the penis and enable you to achieve an erection.

  • Vacuum constriction devices

These devices help you achieve an erection with the use of vacuum pressure to keep the penis erect.

  • Surgery

This option is more invasive as it uses inflatable device implants within the penis, reconstructs the arteries within the penis, or blocks off veins to prevent blood in going out of the penis so that erection can be achieved.

Erectile dysfunction affects millions of men. In case you’re facing the same issue, never be afraid of opening it up with a health professional. Though it’s not discussed openly, you’re never alone in this journey. Give it serious attention because failure to seek treatment may result in serious relationship problems.

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