ED – Erectile Dysfunction: Causes & Symptoms
You need emotional input, normal nerves and blood flow to the penis, and testosterone to achieve an erection. One or more of these functions are disturbed with aging. The most common reason for ED is impaired blood flow. You have doubtlessly heard of the use of coronary stents or coronary bypass for clogged arteries to the heart. The penile arteries are even smaller than the coronary arteries, so it comes as no surprise that ED is related to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Some other causes include:
- Diabetes is a very common cause of ED because it will affect both the nerves and the blood flow to the penis.
- Neurological problems such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord trauma may cause ED.
- If the blood trapped in the penis during an erection leaks out too quickly, this is called “Venous leak” or cavernosal dysfunction.
- Genital or pelvic trauma, including the trauma of surgery (radical prostatectomy or extensive rectal surgery for cancer), can affect blood flow and nerves to the penis and lead to ED.
- Low testosterone can contribute to ED.
- Peyronie’s disease – calcific plaque in the penis that prevents symmetrical filling of the penis with blood during arousal. This condition can cause either penile curvature with an erection, an hourglass deformity of the penis during erection or very weak erections.
- Other sources of ED include anxiety, abuse of alcohol or narcotics, smoking, and certain medications (for high blood pressure, depression, antihistamines, ulcer medications).