Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction) - Cause
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.
Physical problems cause about 8 out of 10 cases of erectile dysfunction. Physical problems are often the cause of
erection problems in men age 50 or older. They include:
- Side effects of medicines, including some medicines for high blood pressure or
depression. In some
cases it may be possible to change the dose of the medicine or to use another
medicine. Talk to your doctor.
- 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.
- Nerve disorders such as
multiple sclerosis, and
stroke may interfere with a man's ability to have an
erection. And they may lower sexual desire.
- Nerve damage from
diabetes, complications from surgery, and spinal cord
injury also may cause problems.
- Problems with the structure of the
penis or its surrounding tissues.
- Hormonal factors, such as a low level of the hormone
- Pelvic injuries and complications
prostate or other surgeries that interfere with nerve
impulses or blood flow to the penis.
issues seem to be involved in many cases of erection problems. These mental issues include:
These things interfere with the erection process by distracting the man from things
that would normally arouse him.
Erection problems in men younger than 40 who
have no physical risk factors are more likely to be caused by mental factors than physical causes.