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What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction? : Hello friends, today I am going to cover a very important topic called Erectile Dysfunction and its causes. It is one of those problems that men do not worry about until they are affected by it. So today, I will give you an in depth knowledge about how erection works and what are the things that you should keep in mind if you’re dealing with this problem of ED.

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It is interesting to note that it is one of the most common sex related problem in men and yet, very less talked about on an open platform. So let us start this discussion. Please note, our blog is now open for comments. You can comment after the article if you have any concerns or you would like to say something.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction by definition is the inability to get and keep an erection which is firm enough for sexual intercourse. There is a problem either initiating an erection or keeping an erection. Did you know 1 out of 10 men on an average suffer from this problem at least once in their lifetime.

Please note, having troubles with erection sometimes may not be problematic. But if this problem persists, it can cause further distress to the patient in form of anxiety and loss of self confidence.

One very important fact is, Erectile Dysfunction is not normal for any age. Very commonly, Erectile dysfunction is a symptom pointing towards some other underlying condition. This means, if you are affected by this problem, never ignore it and seek help from a urologist as soon as possible. It happens to the best of us, so there is no need to be embarrassed about it, treatments are mostly quite simple and effective.

It is a very common myth that Erectile dysfuntion is a part of getting older. However it is not entirely true. The fact is, some males may need more stimulation for getting and maintaining an erection enough for having a pleasant intercourse.

How Does an Erection Happen (Physiologically)?

Penis is like a tube having three tubular chambers running through its length. There are two chambers that are filled with a spongy muscle tissue, these chambers are called as Corpus Cavernosum.

When a male is sexually stimulated and aroused, nerves release a chemical signalling increased blood flow to the penis. As blood flow is increased in the penis, the spongy tissue absorbs and traps significant amount of blood. This pressure in the spongy tissue due to blood, causes an erection.

When orgasm happens, nerves send a signal to the spongy muscles in penis to contract and release the blood back into the blood vessels. Thus, the erection comes down after having an orgasm.

What Are the Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction?

The following are the major symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction.

  1. Erection happens sometimes but not at the time that you want to have sex.
  2. Erection happens but it subsides before you can finish having sexual intercourse.
  3. Erection does not happen at all.

There may be other symptoms related to erectile dysfunction that happen after the male is affected significantly by erection problems. These are secondary psychological symptoms like low self esteem, low confidence, anxiety, depression, distress in relationship with partner.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

As aforementioned, erection dysfunction is usually related to some other underlying condition. So, here, I will try to give you an idea about what are the problems that can cause erection problems.

  1. Vascular Diseases (Diseases Related to blood vessels) – As I explained above, erection happens when blood flow to the penis increases. Now, if there is a problem with blood vessels itself, like if the vessels are blocked or narrowed, then proper blood is not able to reach the spongy tissue in the penis. Hence, erection can not take place properly. Vascular diseases include diseases like atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc.
  2. Neurological Diseases (Diseases Related to Nerves) – Nerves that carry the signal from the brain to penis can sometimes get damaged. Therefore, when the signal does not reach, blood flow does not increase and then erection does not happen. Nerves can damaged due to diseases like Diabetes, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis etc. Nerve injuries can also happen sometimes after the patient is exposed to radiation therapies or after open pelvic surgeries.
  3. Psychological Conditions – There are conditions like performance anxiety, lack of proper stimulus from the brain, increased stress, depression etc that hamper the process of erection. Alcoholism, substance abuse, recreational drug abuse, lack of sleep are some other conditions that can potentially lead to erectile dysfunction. Relationship problems caused due to stress, bad communications etc can sometimes lead to erection problems as well.
  4. Other Conditions – There are other miscellaneous conditions that may indirectly affect erections such as Metabolic Syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Tobacco abuse, Low Testosterone levels, Peyronie’s disease etc.
  5. Drugs – There are certain drugs that can potentially cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect such as
    • a. Antihypertensive drugs
    • b. NSAIDs
    • c. Antidepressant drugs
    • d. Antiepileptic drugs
    • e. Antihistamines
    • f. Diuretics
    • g. Drugs given for heart diseases like arrhythmia
    • h. Muscle relaxants and sleep inducing drugs
    • i. Antihistamines (anti allergy drugs)
    • j. Drugs given for cancer treatments (Chemotherapy)
    • k. Certain hormones
    • l. Drugs for parkinsonism
    • m. Substance abuse drugs like – Nicotine, opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, barbiturates, alcohol etc.
    • n. Appetite suppressants

Remember, whatever risk factors are related to the conditions listed above can be listed as the risk factors for Erectile Dysfunction as well. These generally include, Smoking, Alcoholism, Obesity, Lifestyle related diseases etc.

So I hope this article gave you an insight about how erection works and what are the conditions that can lead to Erection Dysfunction. As I mentioned before, if you see the list, you will realise, most of the problems that lead to actual erection troubles are the problems that can be easily taken care of. Therefore, you never need to be shy or embarrassed about sexual problems in males.

If you have any other questions, I am available for OPD consultation at Institute of Urology, C Scheme, Jaipur everyday during working hours. You can also whatsapp me or call me directly on 8601539297 or book an appointment on 9829013468.

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