The cause or causes of male erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence can be put in one of two categories, or a combination of both: Psychological and/or Physical.
- Vascular (Blood Vessel) Diseases
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Physical Accidents
- Low Testosterone
Of the psychological aspect of what causes male erectile dysfunction, causes from stress and anxiety can be due to marital, financial or other personal problems. Let’s say that a sexually active man suddenly lost his job, he may be finding himself not able to get an erection after being abruptly blind-sided.
“Performance anxiety,” it is possible for the man’s stress and anxiety to interfere with nerve impulses from his brain when he tries to have sex. Because of anxiety about his ability to “perform,” a man finds he cannot perform – which causes more anxiety, thus completing a vicious cycle.
Then to top it off, depression may set in, which by itself can cause erectile dysfunction.
Of all of the physical causes of male erectile dysfunction, vascular (blood vessel) diseases are the most frequent. Vascular diseases may cause problems involving blood flow into the penis to make it erect. They can also cause problems with holding the blood in the penis to maintain the erection. Hardening of the arteries and other vascular system diseases are risk factors for erectile dysfunction.
Nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis and alcoholism, can also cause erectile dysfunction. Some diseases like diabetes that are associated with erectile dysfunction effect both the vascular and the nervous systems.
Erectile dysfunction often has multiple causes. A man with diabetes, could be for the sake of argument, may be a heavy smoker and a heavy drinker. He may have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Each of these conditions can damage the vascular system and/or nervous system. Each is a risk factor for erectile dysfunction. When any of these conditions occur together, the risk increases.
Erectile dysfunction can develop from pelvic fractures or crush injuries from an automobile, or other accident. The accident victim may be left with injured nerves and/or penile arteries that cannot supply enough blood to the penis to provide an erection. Spinal cord injuries that destroy nerve fibers are another cause of erectile dysfunction. Some types of surgery and radiation therapy, such as for treating prostate, bladder or rectal cancer, carry a chance of developing erectile dysfunction. And let’s not forget drugs, certain medications might aide in developing erectile dysfunction. A man should review with his doctor all medications taken recently.
Currently, the effect of low testosterone on erectile function is not clear. Studies have shown that low testosterone levels do not necessarily prevent a man from having an erection. Low testosterone levels, however though, can decrease a man’s libido.
Aging and erectile dysfunction has also been studied. Although the rate of erectile dysfunction in the male population increases with age, aging itself does not appear to be the cause. It is apparent though, that diseases such as vascular diseases and diabetes, which may develop as a man ages, with the possible added effects from the medications taken to treat such illnesses, can cause erectile dysfunction with the aging. The effects from years of smoking or alcohol abuse don’t help either.