Erectile Dysfunction: Symptoms, Causes and How to Cope
Posted January 5, 2020
Two letters pack a metaphoric punch in the lower extremities for men — ED, an acronym for Erectile Dysfunction that affects over 50 percent of men at some point in time. The term most-commonly used is impotence, which is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection, or ejaculate, on a consistent basis.
While aging in general is most associated with the dysfunction, men at any age can experience impotence at any time for many reasons.
Erectile Dysfunction symptoms include:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble sustaining an erection
- Reduced sexual desire
Common Factors For ED
Several factors can contribute to the condition, including both emotional and physical disorders. When confidence is shaken, anxiety and depression can become common and affect the sexual relationship, along with daily activities.
Performance anxiety, especially, can also cause impotence. The idea of not achieving an erection in the past, can create a fear that an erection is not in the future. This constant perception creates more worry and leads to greater anxiety. To achieve an erection, there is an excitement phase that preludes the erection, or arousal. If you have an emotional disorder, it’ll affect your ability to become sexually excited.
Forms of anxiety and emotional distress can lead to depression, which is the experience of sadness or loss of hope. Other than severe mental health disorders, depression can trigger fatigue, a common component of impotence.
Adding Two Letters To ‘ED’ Pinpoints a Cause: mEDs
Medications like beta blockers, cancer chemotherapy medications, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, such as Xanax, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Paxil, can affect blood flow, which can lead to ED. However, you should never stop taking a medication without your doctor’s permission, even if it’s known to cause impotence.
While illegal drugs are not medications, if taken regularly, may also cause impotence. Drugs and alcoholism can affect the ability to achieve or maintain an erection and a doctor consult is imperative if there may be a substance abuse problem.
Diseases, Disorders, and Conditions of Erectile Dysfunction
The endocrine system is the body’s hub for hormone production responsible for regulating metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and even mood.
Diabetes is an example of an endocrine disease that affects the body’s ability to use the hormone insulin , and chronic diabetes causes nerve damage. This affects penis sensations. Other complications associated with diabetes include impaired blood flow and hormone levels, both contributing to impotence.
Several neurologic conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, and brain or spinal tumors can increase the risk for impotence. Nerve conditions affect the brain’s ability to communicate with the reproductive system and can prevent an erection.
Surgeries such as prostate surgery, that can end in nerve damage, and strangely, long-distance bicycle riders, can experience temporary impotence due to pressure on the buttocks and genitals.
Without enough blood flow to the penis, you can’t achieve an erection, so heart conditions tend to slow the ability for blood flow resulting in impotence.
Consult a physician with any questions if you are experiencing any Erectile Dysfunction symptoms, and as a best practice, maintain regular check-ups to better know your body and its function.