Erectile dysfunction and its causes

Erectile dysfunction and its causes




Erectile dysfunction (also known as ED) is more common than you might think, possible because a lot of people who suffer with it don’t want to talk about it!  


Studies have shown that 4.3 million men in the UK alone suffer with symptoms of ED, so don’t worry guys, you’re in good company!


Today, we’re going to be looking at what ED and its causes, so we can try to work out what’s going on in an embarrassment free zone!



What is erectile dysfunction?


Erectile dysfunction is the name of a common condition which means that men struggle to get or keep an erection.


It’s commonly called ED and is also be referred to as impotence, but no matter what you call it, it’s no fun!


Luckily, modern medicine has made erectile dysfunction much easier to treat, as long as you know what’s causing it.


So let’s dive right in and see what can cause ED and what you can do about it.



What causes erectile dysfunction?


The causes of erectile dysfunction can be broken down into two distinct types – physical and psychological.


They’re exactly what they say on the tin, the physical causes of ED are caused by things like injury or illness, where the psychological causes are caused by things like emotion or stress.


We’re going to take a look at both of these causes, and what you can do to make your life a little easier. Let’s start with your physical causes…


The physical causes of ED


The physical causes of ED can be quite varied, as ED can be caused by lots of different illnesses and conditions.


We’re going to take a look at some of the most common causes today, but if you really want to know what’s causing your erectile dysfunction, you should make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.


Trying to work out the cause by yourself isn’t could land you in trouble, so play it safe and speak to your doctor about what the cause could be.


Now we’ve told you who’s going to be doing the diagnosing, let’s look at some of the most common physical causes of ED.





Diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction in the same way it causes other conditions, by damaging the nerves and blood vessels in your body.


Diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels in the penis, causing less blood flow and making it difficult to get an erection and even causing loss of sensation if you manage to keep an erection.


If you have diabetes and are struggling with erectile dysfunction, don’t try to treat it yourself as you could make matters worse.


Speak to your doctor, they’ll be able to review what’s happening and why.


Inadequate blood flow


Conditions that effect the amount of blood that can flow to your penis can cause erectile dysfunction, after all, your penis relies on blood flow to become erect in the first place!


Some of the conditions that can affect blood flow include high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can affect blood flow all over the body.


If your ED is caused by blood flow, then your doctor will be able to recommend an appropriate course of treatment, which could include blood pressure medication or statins.



Side effects to prescribed medication


Unfortunately, some prescription medications can include erectile dysfunction as one of their side effects. This can include medication that treats heart disease or high blood pressure.


If this is happening to you, then you’ll need to speak to your doctor about changing your medication, so you can start taking something that will give you the treatment you need but won’t stop you from having a little fun!


Heavy drinking or using illegal drugs


Drinking and using illegal drugs can both cause erectile dysfunction, as they can both cause damage in your body can cause other underlying conditions that can lead to ED.


If you’re a heavy drinker or using illegal drugs, speak to your doctor or someone you trust, the best thing you can do for yourself right now is get the help you need to make things right.



The psychological causes of ED


The physical causes of erectile dysfunction are relatively self-explanatory, but the psychological causes of ED can be a little trickier to deal with.


Our brains are pretty complex places, so working out what makes them tick isn’t an exact science, but here are a couple of the most common psychological causes of ED.


Stress, anxiety and depression


When you’re feeling stressed or are suffering with anxiety or depression, these can all make it more difficult for you to get and maintain an erection.


There’s no quick fix if you’re suffering with ED due to one of these conditions, and your best bet is to go and see a qualified counsellor or sex therapist.


Speak to your doctor, they’ll be able to tell you if they think that counselling or sex therapy is right for you, and recommend a qualified therapist that can help you to get things back on track.



Relationship problems


If your relationship is going through a bit of a rough patch, you may find that erectile dysfunction rears its ugly head, adding another problem that you don’t need right now.


This can happen if your relationship isn’t a happy one right now, but can also happen if you’ve experienced sexual problems in past relationships, so don’t rule it out if things are nothing but roses between you and your partner right now.




Sometimes, the old “Not tonight dear, I’m too tired” excuse is completely true! Feeling tired or fatigued can cause ED, which can be worrying for men who don’t realise that they’re just a bit too knackered to have sex.


Try not to worry too much about this one, and use your bed to get more sleep, rather than, you know, the other thing you use your bed for.



Can cycling cause ED?


Be careful, my eco-friendly friends, as cycling can cause you some problems in the bedroom.


If you regularly cycle for more than 3 hours a week, the pressure that cycling places on your genital area can leave you suffering with ED.


Try taking a break from cycling for a little while and see if it helps, if things go back to normal then you’ve probably found your cause.


You should also make sure that you’re using a properly fitted bicycle seat and that you sit in the correct position while riding your bike, as these things will both help to prevent ED caused by cycling.




Now we know everything there is to know about ED and its causes, and hopefully shed some light on what’s causing erectile disfunction for you.


If you’re still not sure about what causes ED, or want more information, remember to speak to your doctor for a formal diagnosis.


You can rely on them to be helpful and discrete, so you can just relax and get back to enjoying yourself!


Laura Henderson - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 22 September 2021
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