Treatment is seldom needed for a man who fails to achieve an erection less than 20% of the time, as this level of occurrence is not considered unusual. However, when a man fails to achieve an erection more than 50% of the time, this can indicate there is a problem that requires professional treatment. By understanding erectile dysfunction in men and its possible causes, the problem will be much easier to admit and deal with.
The Process of Erection
Achieving an erection is a complex process and in order for a man to have one, the following conditions must be met:
- A stimulus from the brain. This means that a signal from your brain must be sent to your penis telling it that you are aroused.
- Nerves to the penis must be functioning properly. If the brain is sending signals but the nerves to the penis are not functioning properly, the message will not be delivered.
- Adequate blood circulation to the penis.
Myths Surrounding Erectile Dysfunction
There can be numerous reasons why men experience erectile dysfunction. Psychological or physical problems and in some cases both can interfere with the stated conditions and therefore prevent a man from achieving a full erection. There are many myths surrounding erectile dysfunction or ED as it is commonly known.
- Tight underwear – wearing tight and skimpy underwear does not cause ED to happen. However, it may cause a man to have a low sperm count.
- Old age is to blame – ED is not normal at any age. Getting older does not mean that a man will lose his erectile function completely.
- Causes of erectile dysfunction are different from other problems that interfere with sexual intercourse such as immature ejaculation and orgasm or lack of sexual desire.
Causes of Erectile Dysfuntion
Since the nervous system plays a vital role in achieving an erection, it is common for men with neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s diseases, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke to experience ED because the transmission of the nerve impulses from the brain to the penis is interrupted.
ED is also commonly caused by diseases that affects blood flow or the blood vessels in the system like atherosclerosis, (this contributes to 50%-60% of ED cases for men over 60 years old), hypertension and high cholesterol. Diseases that cause nerve and artery damage like diabetes can make achieving an erection difficult. According to the National Institute of Health, up to 50% of diabetic patients experience erectile dysfunction. Kidney diseases and medications to treat kidney diseases are also causes of ED.
Psychological factors or mental conditions are also known causes of erectile dysfunctions. Men with depression, stress, widower syndrome and performance anxiety can have problems with having a full erection.
Other causes of ED are medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, antihypertensive, antiulcer drugs and mind altering drugs like marijuana and cocaine. Surgeries and injuries have also been known to play a part in the cause of erectile dysfunction in men.