Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Erections occur in response to touch, visual and auditory stimuli, and can even be caused by certain smells. This information travels from the brain to the nerve center and eventually to the base of the spine where nerve fibers connect to the penis and regulate blood flow during and after erections. Sexual stimulation occurs when the release of the chemicals from the nerve endings in the penis cause the muscles to relax, resulting in an erection. If one or more of these physical processes is disrupted erectile dysfunction or “ED” can occur.
Causes of erectile dysfunction can be divided into two parts, physical and psychological. Nearly half of all ED problems in men can be attributed to vascular conditions that alter and constict blood flow to the penis, such as:
- Peripheral vascular disease
- High blood pressure
- History of heart attack
Other common causes of erectile dysfunction include:
- Hormone or endocrine conditions
- Surgery or trauma
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Recreational drugs
Erectile dysfunction usually produces a significant psychological and emotional reaction in most men. ED can also lead to increased feelings of anxiety and stress, making it even more difficult to perform sexually. These issues need to be brought up and addressed by a professional physician. Even without physical causes, everyday emotional stress and anxiety can lead to ED. Apprehension about work, family life, personal relationships, or other personal or social issues are often causes of erectile dysfunction. One episode of failure - no matter the cause - can lead to further psychological distress that can lead to increased instances of ED.
One can oftentimes restore their sexual health simply through exercise, and keeping a healthier diet, or by finding better ways to manage chronic diseases, like diabetes, that cause ED. However, sometimes additional assistance from pills, vacuum systems, and other medical devices are needed to help manage erectile dysfunction.
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