Erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to maintain an erection, is a problem that affects men of all ages, but is more common as men get older. While there are many potential causes of ED, it is often the result of a physical or emotional problem.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
The most common physical causes of ED are:
- Diseases of the blood vessels (vascular diseases). These diseases include atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes. All of these can damage the blood vessels and affect blood flow to the penis.
- Diseases of the nervous system. These include Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. These diseases can damage the nerves that are responsible for sending signals from the brain to the penis.
- Injury to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder, or pelvis. Injury to these areas can result in ED.
- Side effects of medications. Some medications can cause ED, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, and certain blood pressure medications.
Emotional causes of ED
The most common emotional causes of ED are:
- Performance anxiety. This is the most common cause of ED. Performance anxiety is the fear of being unable to perform sexually. This can lead to a vicious cycle, as the anxiety about performance can cause ED, which can then lead to more anxiety.
- Relationship problems. ED can be a sign of a relationship problem. If you’re having trouble communicating with your partner or are worried about other issues in the relationship, this can lead to ED.
- Stress. Stress can interfere with sexual arousal and can cause ED.
- Depression. Depression is a common cause of ED. Depression can interfere with sexual arousal and can cause ED.
Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction
The most common treatment for ED is oral medication. These medications include:
- Sildenafil (Viagra). This is the most common oral medication for ED. It is effective for four to five hours.
- Tadalafil (Cialis). This is an oral medication that is effective for up to 36 hours.
- Vardenafil (Levitra). This is an oral medication that is effective for four to five hours.
If oral medication is not effective, other treatment options include:
- Penile injections. These injections are effective for up to one hour.
- Vacuum devices. These devices are effective for up to 30 minutes.
- Surgery. Surgery is a last resort option for ED. There are two types of surgery that can be used to treat ED: penile implants and vascular surgery.
Prevention of Erectile Dysfunction
There are some lifestyle changes that can help prevent ED:
- Exercise. Exercise can improve blood flow to the penis and can help prevent ED.</