Erection problems may be caused by physical problems
related to the blood vessels, nerves, and hormones. Or they may be caused by psychological issues.
Normally, an erection
occurs when your imagination or senses (vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste)
are stimulated and you become aroused. Your central nervous system sends nerve
impulses that increase blood flow to your penis.
If you are troubled by occasional erectile dysfunction, remember that arousal takes longer as you get older and that satisfaction should not be equated with performance. If dysfunction is severe and persistent, you should seek medical help. The number of treatment options has increased in recent years.
Many doctors will recommend changes in lifestyle as a first step in treatment. Suggestions may include the following:
Cut back on alcohol.
Stop any tobacco or illegal drug use.
The use of tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs. Stopping or reducing the use of these substances may make the erection problem less severe.
Problems with the blood vessels. These problems may prevent blood from filling the penis or from staying
there long enough to maintain an erection. For example, long-term
high blood pressure can cause damage to blood vessels
and lead to erection problems.
Problems with the nerves (neurologic
problems). These may prevent arousal signals from traveling from the brain and spinal
cord to the penis.