Recent studies show that most erectile dysfunction (ED) cases have a physical cause. ED, which is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse, can also be an early warning sign of more serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure or diabetes. Such diseases cause ED by causing restricted blood flow.
In some cases, experts from Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research note, “surgical removal of the prostate gland and surrounding tissue as treatment for prostate cancer may cause urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.”
According to urologyhealth.org, smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, will compromise the blood vessels of the penis. The lack of exercise and leading a sedentary lifestyle are also risk factors.
According to researchers, erectile dysfunction is considered a medical problem if it lasts for more than three months. Some researchers have linked it to psychological factors like depression, child abuse, relationship difficulties, guilt, body image issues and worrying about an existing erection problem.
Neurological conditions like spinal cord, back injuries and dementia can also cause ED by affecting the transfer of nerve impulses from the brain to the penis.
Age, too, has something to do with erection problems because, according to an online article by Discovery health, “Roughly 25% of men over the age of 65 have some degree of ED.”
However, ED is not necessarily a consequence of aging, although experts agree that there is decrease in testosterone levels and sexual interest as men grow older. To reduce the risk of getting ED, men should engage in frequent sexual activity, stop smoking, stay physically and mentally active and discuss any medication with their doctors.
Compiled by Elizabeth Namazzi