There are many causes of erectile dysfunction some of which can be reversed while other’s can be managed. Explore the physical causes of erectile dysfunction.

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction is a condition in which males have trouble getting or maintaining an erection good enough for sexual intercourse. It can happen because of narrowing of blood vessels causing insufficient blood flow to the penis or impaired nerve function. 

ED is a common condition, and if left untreated can cause stress, low self confidence and relationship problems. It has both psychological and physical factors which need to be understood for effective diagnosis and treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction

The symptoms include persistent:

– Trouble getting an erection

– Trouble keeping an erection

– Decreased libido/sexual desire.

Physical causes of Erectile dysfunction

Individuals with heart disease have impaired blood flow to the penis. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors that can damage blood vessels, and can lead to ED. A stable erection relies on adequate blood supply to the blood vessels.

Men with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing ED as high blood sugar levels over an extended period can damage blood vessels and nerves affecting the ability to achieve an erection. 

Health problems affecting the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, can cause interference with communication between the brain and other organs, sometimes leading to not maintaining an erection. 

Hormones play an important role in sexual health and function, and any type of imbalance can contribute to decreased ability to maintain an erection. If testosterone levels are low this can impact libido and function. 

Being obese is a risk factor to many health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems which can lead to issues like ED. 

Individuals who may use tobacco, alcohol products experience affected blood flow, damaged blood vessels and disrupted hormones all which influence erectile function.  

There are certain prescription drugs which may have side effects that contribute to ED. These can be antidepressants, antihypertensive, prostate condition, or other medical history. It is important that individuals communicate to the healthcare provider about any concerns they may have especially if their sex life is leading to any relationship problems. 

There could be nerve damage related to surgeries involving the prostate, bladder or the pelvic region. This can impact the ability to achieve an erection.

Consult a doctor

It is important to seek medical advice and get proper evaluation for an accurate diagnosis. People with concerns of sexual problems, who may have diabetes, heart disease or other linked health conditions should visit their doctor for a consultation. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, medications or other interventions like penile implants. 

Consult a doctor


Causes, assessment and management options for erectile dysfunction (