What causes erectile dysfunction?

It’s one of the most common sexual health conditions among men, but what really causes erectile dysfunction?

Up to one in five men in the UK are affected by erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives, which equates to around 4.3 million men. It is defined as being unable to achieve or maintain an erection during sexual activity. This is something that impacts most men from time to time, but when it comes a regular problem, it is likely due to erectile dysfunction.

We’re going to take a closer look at this condition in an attempt to lift the taboo, asking key questions like what are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, what causes it, and what treatments are available? Let’s take a look.

The symptoms of erectile dysfunction

The symptoms of erectile dysfunction include being unable to achieve an erection during sex, or being able to get an erection but not having it last long enough for sexual gratification. It can also involve being unable to get an erection at any time. 

Because of the nature of the condition, ED can also lead to other health concerns like anxiety, stress and depression.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

There are many different factors involved in erectile dysfunction, with the causes of the condition potentially being physical or psychological. It is more likely to occur in men over 40, but people of any age can be affected, and certain factors make it far more likely to occur.

Underlying diseases and conditions

Often, erectile dysfunction is a symptom of an underlying health concern or disease. Many common health conditions list erectile dysfunction as a potential symptom. These include:

  • Heart disease
  • Blood vessel disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peyronie’s disease

It can also occur from injuries and treatments for other health concerns, such as injury sustained from prostate cancer treatments, like radiation therapy and prostate surgery. It can also occur from surgery for bladder cancer, or injury to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder or pelvis.

Certain medications

Sometimes, ED occurs due to the side effects of medication you might be taking. Erectile dysfunction can be a side effect of many common medicines, such as:

  • Antiandrogens – used for prostate cancer therapy
  • Antidepressants and SSRIs
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Appetite suppressants 
  • Ulcer medicines
  • Tranquilizers or prescription sedatives

Psychological or emotional issues

In come cases, the causes of erectile dysfunction aren’t physical. Instead, they are the result of mental health concerns, emotional issues or trauma. The rise in anxiety among young people means that more and more young men are experiencing erectile dysfunction

Some of the psychological causes of ED include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Guilt about sexual performance
  • Low self esteem
  • Fear of sexual failure
  • Stress about sexual performance
  • Stress in general life
  • Unresolved sexual trauma
  • Issues within your relationship

Health-related behaviours

Your behaviours and habits can also make erectile dysfunction more likely to occur, as there are health-related factors which can up your risk level. These include:

  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Using illegal drugs
  • Being overweight
  • Not being physically active

Is erectile dysfunction treatment available?

Thankfully, effective medication for erectile dysfunction is available, so you don’t have to simply live with the condition. Sildenafil is unbranded Viagra, meaning you get the same trusted medication without the heavy price tag. This medication has been proven to effectively tackle symptoms of erectile dysfunction and make it easier to achieve and sustain an erection during sex. 

You can get effective erectile dysfunction medication here:

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