It’s all about blood flow. To get and keep an erection, blood needs to have no problem getting to your penis. If you have ED, it can mean that one or more of your blood vessels have narrowed or are blocked.
Traditionally, people in western Africa have used the bark of the yohimbe tree as an aphrodisiac and to boost general health as well as athletic performance.
Now you can get yohimbe bark extract as a dietary supplement that you can buy without a prescription. Its promoters claim it can help erectile dysfunction (ED), low sex drive in women, and the unwanted sexual side effects of some antidepressant medicines. But the science around modern claims shows mixed results or not enough research.
Plaque in your arteries can make that happen. Doctors call it “atherosclerosis,” which means the hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup.
When your heart pumps, blood goes through arteries to get to different parts of your body. To get to the penis, blood first goes through arteries in the belly and then branch off. When it's time for an erection, these arteries widen, or dilate. More blood flows into the penis, making it swell.
Erectile dysfunction often means at least some of the blood vessels on that path aren't in perfect health. Even if you don’t have a blocked artery yet, the lining of your blood vessels might not work as well as it should.
Atherosclerosis isn’t the only reason that ED can happen. See your doctor to find out what the cause is in your case.
6 Things That Make Atherosclerosis More Likely
Most men with ED have risks that make them more likely to get atherosclerosis, such as: