Erectile dysfunction causes can basically be broken down into one of two categories: physical and psychological. Whereas the primary causes of erectile dysfunction are typically physical in nature, it is extremely common for a mental element to develop as well, and compound the issue over time. This page examines the most-typical contributing factors to both categories of culprits.

The majority of erectile dysfunction causes begin, at least initially, with some form of physical condition. Because the process of gaining, and maintaining an erection is so strongly linked to circulation, it should come as no surprise to learn that nearly all of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction are related to phenomenon that negatively impact the flow of blood through the body.

1. Aging

Because men who have reached middle age are far more prone to suffer from cardiovascular disease, strokes, and angina than are their younger counterparts, they are consequently more susceptible to frequent bouts with ED. Each of the aforementioned conditions can weaken blood flow enough to make it difficult for the affected man to achieve an erection.

Many researchers also believe that there is a correlation between a decrease in the amount of nitric oxide produced by the body and aging. Because nitric oxide is a key stimulant to the corpora cavernosa (the primary muscle in the penis), this would mean that some older men may no longer be capable of producing enough of the gas naturally to enjoy normal sexual function.

2. Smoking Cigarettes

A well-known side effect of tobacco use is the narrowing and hardening of the arteries (i.e., atherosclerosis). Because this condition not only causes a dramatic decrease in circulation, but is also a precursor to cardiovascular disease, the evidence is compelling that cigarette smoking is one of the leading erectile dysfunction causes in many men.

3. Type I Diabetes

Not only does type I diabetes (also called diabetes mellitus) negatively impact blood flow to the extremities, but it also damages autonomic and sensory nerve endings in the body. The combined role of these two processes in erectile dysfunction causes is to rob men of both the needed blood flow to the penis, and the muscle response to stimulation that are required to gain an erection.

4. High Blood Pressure

Although there is no conclusive medical evidence to prove exactly why high blood pressure affects male sexual function, researchers have found a statistical correlation between the two that cannot be ignored. One believed link exists in the low levels of nitric oxide produced by men who suffer from hypertension, but the connection may also be related to the daily intake of high blood pressure medication. The beta-blockers present in all hypertension drugs depress circulation as well.

5. Alcohol and Drug Abuse

In addition to their depressant qualities on heart rate and circulation, alcohol and most narcotics tend to result in nerve damage and low testosterone levels if abused over an extended period of time. As a result, men who use these substances regularly experience the same erectile dysfunction symptoms as those seen in diabetes patients, compounded by a reduced libido.

6. Low Testosterone

Men who suffer from any kind of compromised function of the testicles generally suffer from low testosterone levels, or “Low T” as it is now popularly called. This condition results in a dramatic reduction in the libido of the affected man and, in many instances, the onset of ED.

7. Obesity

Undoubtedly one of the fastest growing causes of erectile dysfunction, obesity impacts sexual function in a multitude of ways. By reducing circulation to the extremities, contributing to heart disease and diabetes, and causing any number of other cardiovascular problems, carrying around too much weight opens up a man to almost every known type of ED cause.

Psychological Erectile Dysfunction Causes

As mentioned at the outset, despite the fact that most erectile dysfunction causes begin as physical, they often morph into a combination of physiological and psychological components. To understand the importance of this, consider the role that mental sexual arousal plays in creating an erection.

When a man becomes mentally aroused by visual or imagined stimuli, the brain sends waves of electrical impulses to the nerve endings near the penis which, in turn, causes them to release the nitric oxide required to make the corpora cavernosa rigid. If the man is suffering from any of the following psychological causes of ED, this process can become blocked.

1. Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Men who suffer from high levels of stress, anxiety and depression often feel distracted, distant, or otherwise detached from their surroundings to one extent or another. These feelings also tend to cause a reduction in the man’s libido and, in many cases, an inability to become mentally aroused by sexual stimulation.

2. Fatigue

The cumulative effect of chronic fatigue is to dull the brain’s response to external stimulation. The obvious link between this condition and erectile dysfunction is that fatigued men often find it difficult to become aroused by sexual thoughts and imagery.

3. Communication and Trust Issues in a Relationship

Two of the most-problematic psychological erectile dysfunction causes are communication and trust issues between a man and his significant other. Because healthy sexual relationships are so dependent upon the couple achieving a high level in these two areas, situations where there is poor communication or a lack of trust are often erectile dysfunction causes for many men.

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