There are many causes of Erectile Dysfunction – There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
While sexual impotence is typically associated with aging, the condition isn’t limited to older men. In fact, a recent study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that 1 in 4 men presenting with erectile dysfunction (ED) were under the age of 40. ED is defined as difficulty having an erection at least 50% of the time. The causes range from direct and physical to psychological – and they can be sign of a broader condition.
Why you might be experiencing erectile dysfunction
Erections are the result of the interaction between the brain, blood vessels, nerves, emotions, hormones, and muscles. It’s a complicated process – if any one element is compromised, it can lead to ED. If you’re struggling with impotence, it could be due to any one of the following reasons. However, it’s important to consult with a physician before forming any conclusions.
- Poor circulation. The most common cause of ED is a lack of blood flow to erectile tissue. Plaque and damaged vessels can restrict circulation enough to disrupt function. Typically, symptoms begin with difficulty maintaining an erection before advancing to a complete inability to obtain one.
- Hormonal imbalances. The production of testosterone and other hormones naturally decreases with age, and this can disrupt erections. Also, in rare instances, kidney failure and liver disease may throw off the balance of hormones necessary to achieve an erection.
- The accumulation of fat in the body can cause a drop in active testosterone levels. In addition, being overweight can cause cardiovascular problems that are known to contribute to ED.
- Nerve damage and hormonal imbalances typically associated with alcoholism can lead to impotence.
- Damage to the vascular system caused by smoking tobacco, along with reduced blood flow, is a common cause of ED.
- Cycling and horseback riding. The pressure applied to the pelvic floor during these activities can result in nerve and vascular damage that may inhibit erections.
- Sleep apnea. A German study found that 69% of men involved in a sleep apnea study also suffered from ED. Disruptions to breathing during sleep affect oxygen levels in the blood, which can cause problems generating an erection. Lack of sleep also disrupts hormone production.
- Psychological difficulties. Stress, both in and out of the bedroom, can make it difficult for a man to achieve an erection. Depression, anxiety, and the medications to treat them may also contribute to impotence.
- Poor dental health. A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that men with severe periodontal disease were three times more likely to have consistent difficulties having an erection. While this may be a case of correlation rather than causation, poor dental health has long been associated with vascular disease, which is known to contribute to ED.
- Peyronie’s disease. This condition is characterized by the bending or curvature of the penis, or narrowing of the penile shaft. Scarring related to Peyronie’s disease can cause circulation problems in the penis.