Erectile Dysfunction Demystified

Previously known as impotence, erectile dysfunction refers to the inability to get or maintain an erection to the extent of ensuring satisfactory sex for both partners. It can cause much distress in relationships. It is fortunate that more and more men are educating themselves and seeking help, as treatment options have improved dramatically in the past few years. There is an increasing demand for ‘anti-impotence’ drugs and the treatments available are becoming more affordable and better understood, like this research.

So, How Does a Successful Erection Happen?

An erection would be initiated with the right sensory and mental stimulation. The two spongy cylinders that run on either side of the penis contain smooth muscle which is relaxed by the brain’s signal. This causes blood to flow into the spongy tissue cylinders and the pressure causes the penis to harden. A membrane surrounding these tissues traps the blood in the penis, maintaining the erection. The penis will return to a flaccid condition when the muscles contract again, stopping the blood inflow and allowing it to drain away. 

Physical Causes

Erectile Dysfunction has some very common causes arising predominantly from the nerves, the blood vessels of the penis structure itself. These problems can be caused, in turn, by other health problems, including kidney disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Hardening of the arteries (Atherosclerosis) can also prevent adequate blood from entering the penis. Sometimes ER is caused by injury to a relevant area, like the bladder, spinal cord, prostate, penis or pelvis. These injuries can occur as a result of sport, car accidents or other physical injuries. Additionally, there are more uncommon injuries, caused by complications of radiation or surgery  (for example in prostate cancer), which can cause problems with nerves or circulation to the penis. 

If your nervous system cannot transmit arousal signals, or when the arteries and veins in the penis cannot fill or stay filled with blood, you are unable to have an erection. Sometimes common medications are the direct cause: for example, certain high blood pressure medications, antihistamines, tranquillizers, anti-depressants, and appetite suppressants

Another known physical reason for erectile dysfunction is substance abuse: chronic use of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs can cause impotence. 

Psychological Causes

Major psychological risk factors for Erectile Dysfunction are depression, relationship problems, anxiety or stress, grief, low self-esteem, and strong emotional conditions, like guilt. The last one can arise when the man has had an affair and/or if he fears an STD infection. While physical causes are often required to be treated with medications, psychological causes can be treated without commercial medications. Countless couples attempt to bring back the spark by dabbling in tantric sex and putting the effort in to set the mood.

Preventing Erectile Dysfunction

Sexual intimacy is a form of communication. If you and your partner talk about your lovemaking, it will help reduce your stress and anxiety so that your sexual activity may become more relaxed. Physical Intimacy is a form of communication, therefore it’s really helpful if you and your partner can talk about it. This will reduce stress and anxiety for both parties and your sexual activity would naturally become more relaxed. Add to the mix doing exercise, not smoking, maintaining the correct weight, and promptly treating underlying diseases.  As a great rule of thumb, things that are good for your heart are also good for your penis.

Photo by Andre Furtado from Pexels

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