Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is when a man is unable to achieve or maintain an erection. There are many possible reasons why this happens. Approximately thirty million men across America experience erectile dysfunction.
If ED happens occasionally, it isn’t usually a cause for concern. Erectile dysfunction that happens more frequently or is an ongoing issue could affect your relationship and cause extra stress. It may also be a sign of an underlying health issue. If you are concerned about ED, it is important to talk to your doctor.
Here are five common causes for erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction becomes increasingly common as you age. Between 2% and 12% of men aged 40 suffer from ED, and this percentage goes up with every decade of life. More than half of men over the age of 70 have some symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
2. Low Testosterone
Having low testosterone can cause various health issues. The lower the T, the more symptoms you may experience. Approximately 25% of men suffer from lower than normal levels of testosterone. This can cause low libido, erectile dysfunction, insomnia, depression and more.
You can easily identify if you have low T with a blood test. If your blood test does show that you have low testosterone levels, you can fix this issue with treatments such as testosterone replacement therapy. Once testosterone levels are at the levels they need to be, the symptoms should improve or go away completely.
3. Anxiety and Mental Health
With erectile dysfunction, your mindset plays an important role. If you’re under stress, or suffering from self confidence issues, anxiety or depression, this could make it hard for your brain to release the hormones responsible for making an erection.
Performance anxiety is another factor which can cause impotence. If you’ve had trouble having an erection in the past, you might be fearful that it will happen again. Unfortunately, this only makes the matter worse.
Depression and anxiety are often associated with ED since this causes feelings of sadness, helplessness or loss of hope. However, with the right treatment and support this can be managed and even reversed.
4. Medication Side Effects
Certain medications can be responsible for erectile dysfunction. Antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medication, acid reflux medication and opioids can all lead to ED. If you have recently started a new medication and are noticing that you are having difficulty attaining or maintaining an erection, speak to your doctor to see if there could be a connection.
Having too much alcohol or recreational drugs can also lead to erectile dysfunction.
5. Health Conditions
Erectile dysfunction and heart problems are often connected. High blood pressure along with high cholesterol can cause erectile dysfunction. It is also a good idea to follow up with your doctor if you are suffering from ED with no other symptoms, in order to prevent heart disease.
Diabetes is another health condition which unfortunately causes ED. While between 2% and 12% of men aged 40 suffer from ED, this number jumps to 50% of men with high blood sugar. This means that the better your blood sugar levels are managed, the less your risk of ED is. While ED caused by diabetes isn’t completely reversible, it can be improved if blood sugar is managed well.
If you are suffering from symptoms of erectile dysfunction, don’t lose hope. In most cases, symptoms can be vastly improved with the right treatment. Often the hardest part of the treatment is actually deciding to talk to the doctor in the first place. It might sound like an awkward conversation, but there is no need to be embarrassed. With over 30 million Americans suffering from ED, you’re not alone. Your health care practitioner will be able to assist you in finding something that works for you.