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Causes of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

There Are Many Causes of ED

Erectile Dysfunction does not need to be part of the aging process, nor is it normal for a man to lose his ability to get and maintain an erection simply because he’s getting older. 

There are many factors that can cause Erectile Dysfunction. Because there may be many contributory medical conditions or medications causing ED, and because ED can be a sign of other underlying medical conditions, such as hormonal imbalance, a complete evaluation by a board-certified urologist who specializes in Men’s Sexual Health is very important. A complete understanding of a patient’s medical history and the root causes of a patient’s Erectile Dysfunction symptoms is the first step in developing an effective treatment plan.

The Main Causes of ED

  • Reduced Blood Flow to the Penis
    • Because blood flow in the arteries that carry blood to the penis is necessary for healthy erection function, it is not surprising that Atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) is the leading cause of ED. Narrowing of the arteries occurs when fatty deposits accumulate on the artery walls and restrict blood flow. Smoking and high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes contribute to Atherosclerosis.
  • Nerve Damage
    • Erections begin in the brain. Electrical signals move from the brain to the lower area of the spine, to the nerves in the pelvis, which causes arteries to increase blood flow into the penis causing an erection. Degenerative diseases that affect the nerves that relay messages to the penis, such as Parkinson’s Disease, as well as substance abuse, can cause damage to the nerves associated with erections and be a cause of ED. Similarly, damage to the nerves resulting from prostate cancer and other surgeries, can also be a cause of ED.
  • Psychological Factors
    • While most causes of ED are related to physical or medical conditions, Mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression can also play a role in ED. 
  • Testosterone Deficiency
    • Hormonal imbalance such as low testosterone is a common factor in ED.  Testosterone deficiency can cause low libido and low energy which can result in erectile dysfunction. While improving low testosterone doesn’t always cure ED, it may positively affect a man’s sex drive and libido which will result in improved erections. A recent study discusses the relationship between low testosterone and ED. Learn more here.
  • Diabetes
    • Men with diabetes are almost three times as likely to experience erectile dysfunction as men who do not have the disease. Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels that deliver blood to the penis, as well as damage to the nerves that help the penile blood vessels to dilate.
  • Medications
    • There are prescription medications that are linked to Erectile Dysfunction. Some medications, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medication, can reduce blood flow to the penis.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction, contact Dr. Steinberg at Urology Specialists of Milford at (508) 473-6333 to schedule an evaluation in his Milford office.

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Read more about ED and Dr. Steinberg’s approach at our ED Center.