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What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

The Massachusetts Male Aging Study, one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on erectile dysfunction in America, estimates that roughly 50 million men in the United States suffer from some form of ED. Erectile dysfunction can occur in men of any age, but it is more commonly witnessed in older men. By age 45 most men have experienced erectile dysfunction at least once.


Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is characterized by a man’s inability to attain or maintain an erection for sexual activity. A penile erection is the effect of blood entering and being retained within the penis. This process is often initiated by sexual arousal which causes signals to be transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis.


An erection is achieved using two methods:  physical or psychological stimulation. The reflex erection is produced physical contact, while the psychogenic erection is caused by erotic or emotional stimuli. Since an erection is largely dependant on nerve stimulation and blood flow, if complications arise in the neural system, or if a condition exists that causes constricted blood flow the body may not be able to achieve and/or maintain an erection.


The six most cited causes for erectile dysfunction are:

  • Cardiovasular disease and hypertension
  • Surgery and trauma
  • Diabetes
  • Low testosterone
  • Obesity
  • Psychological/emotional issues
  • Smoking and tobacco use


While these issues may not be the only causes of ED, they are the most commonly found when diagnosing the condition. Common treatments for erectile dysfunction include:

  • Popular drugs like Viagra or Cialis
  • Sexual therapy
  • Vacuum therapy
  • Urethral suppositories
  • Self injections
  • Oral pharmaceuticals
  • Penile implants


If you or someone you care about is suffering from erectile dysfunction contact a medical professional today. Take control of your sexual health!