Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotency as it is sometimes known as is a very common male malaise. Most people do not know how widespread this male sexual health problem is because of the reluctance of people who are suffering from it to talk about their embarrassing condition.
It is thought that most men will have experiences with erectile dysfunction at some time in their life and that as many as 50% of males in developed countries will develop some form of impotency over the age of 40. This is only an estimate as the figure could be much higher if more men are willing to talk about it or to seek medical treatment.
Erectile dysfunction can be broadly classified into three categories.
a)The complete inability to achieve an erection.
c)The ability to only sustain temporary or brief erections.
So what are the causes for this male sexual health condition?
It is known that there are many underlying physical and psychological reasons which cause this male malaise and some of them are listed herebelow.
a)Impaired nervous system or neurological disorders – This affects the sending of signals from the brain to the circulatory blood vessels in the penis. Neurological medical conditions affecting the nervous system that can cause erectile dysfunction include multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damages, brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and the Guillain-Barre syndrome amongst others.
b)Cardio-vascular conditions – Men suffering from cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, veno-occlusive disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart attacks, blood vessel trauma, diabetes and high cholesterol levels amongst other medical conditions can also suffer from erectile dysfunction. Men with these conditions make up almost 50% of impotency patients over the age of 50.
The above are the major physical causes of erectile dysfunction although there are other physical conditions such as penis related medical conditions like infected or penile damage, obstructed pulmonary diseases and sleep apnea just to name a few more. Hormone optimization therapy
Not known to most people, side effects of medications for treating other medical conditions can also cause impotency. Some examples of these medications are beta blockers for treating high blood pressure, antihistamines for allergies, sleeping pills, appetite suppressants, anticonvulsants, antidepressants and anti-ulcer medications and the list goes on.
On the non physical side, psychological conditions are also a very big culprit in causing impotency in men. It is estimated that psychological conditions account for up to 20% of people suffering from erectile dysfunction. Stress, anxiety, depression, guilt and worries about getting it up to have hard erections are the most common psychological causes of impotency.
Other causes include substance abuse such as over consumption of alcohol which suppresses the production of the male hormone testosterone and smoking which affects blood circulation to the penile area.
From the endocrine perspective, hormonal disorder affects about 5% of erectile dysfunction cases. This is because imbalance in hormones like testosterone, prolactin or thyroid problems can be the culprits too.