Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most commonly studied disorder when it comes to male sexual dysfunction. It is estimated that 18 million men in the United States alone suffer from erectile dysfunction and that it appears to be affecting 1 in 4 males under age 40 according to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
While the conventional treatments for ED focus on relieving the symptoms, they only provide a temporary solution rather than a cure for reversing the cause.
Common medications for ED include Viagra, Cialis, phentolamine based meds (trimix & bimix), and alprostadil injections either as Caverject Impulse® or Edex®. Simply put, all of these medications work to increase the flow to the penile blood plexus by bringing in more blood into the corpora cavernosa and pooling venous blood for a sustained period. None of these medications, however, fix the problem and all come with their own set of side effects.
Erectile Dysfunction is a complicated process that involves the hormones, brain, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. ED can result from a problem with any of these. Likewise, stress and mental health problems can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes erectile dysfunction. Just the mere fact that a male has ED can bring on anxiety that can further lead to worsening of erectile dysfunction.
Physical causes of erectile dysfunction
In most cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by something physical. Common causes include:
- Heart disease due to the changes in blood flow
- Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome, a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Low testosterone
- Peyronie’s disease, development of scar tissue inside the penis
- Certain prescription medications
- Tobacco use
- Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Surgery and/or radiation or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
- Injury of the cavernous nerve secondary to trauma (even secondary to excessive bike riding)
Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction
The brain plays a major role in what causes an erection, starting with sexual excitement. Things that can interfere with sexual arousal leading to erectile dysfunction include:
At the DaSilva Institute, we understand that erectile dysfunction is a complex mechanism of variable issues, and therefore, target our efforts towards finding the causes and addressing each one until the problem is solved.