Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse, or the inability to sustain an erection long enough to achieve climax. It is almost always the symptom or result of another problem, both physical and psychological, it can also be a side effect of lifestyle factors or medication.
Erectile dysfunction can be quite distressing for men, and while it may be hard to talk to a doctor about, there are many very effective options for treatment, so be sure to seek help. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch today if you are having problems with impotence. While there are many possible causes, let’s take a look at some of the common reasons for erectile dysfunction.
Men achieve an erection when they are sexually stimulated, which results in nerve messages releasing chemicals that increase blood flow into the penis. Surgery such as cystectomy and prostatectomy, which occur in this region, can disrupt these nerves resulting in erectile dysfunction.
Robotic surgery allows greater precision, control and flexibility of the surgeon’s movements. This allows surgeons to perform delicate and complex procedures, and to do so without encroaching on nearby organs and nerve tissue, significantly reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Cardiovascular disease is a very common contributor to erectile dysfunction in older men. It is caused by a hardening of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which is caused by a buildup of fatty deposits on the artery walls. This affects the flow of blood to the penis, resulting in reduced erectile function.
Other vascular conditions, such as high blood pressure and peripheral vascular disease, can also cause erectile dysfunction.
Prolonged smoking is a common health risk factor for erectile dysfunction because it is associated with poor circulation and its impact on cavernosal function, which is crucial for achieving an erection.
Other lifestyle factors can also cause problems include alcohol and substance abuse, obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise.
Diseases that affect the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, nerves) may be may be associated with erectile dysfunction. These include:
• Multiple sclerosis
• Alzheimer disease
• Parkinson’s disease
• Pelvic trauma
• Spinal cord injury
• Brain tumours
Conditions that affect the veins in the penis can also cause erectile dysfunction. If the veins aren’t properly compressed against the tunica albuginea (the tissue in the penis) it can prevent a firm erection and maintaining an erection. This may be due to penile trauma, old age, diabetes mellitus, or Peyronie’s disease.
Some urological conditions may be associated with erectile dysfunction.
The body’s endocrine system produces hormones that are crucial for mood, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, and sometimes the root of erectile dysfunction is hormonal. Issues, such as diabetes, low testosterone, high prolactin and thyroid disease can have an effect.
The brain plays a key role in triggering the physical processes that result in an erection, beginning with sexual excitement. There is a range of psychological issues that may affect erectile function, including:
• Depression and other psychiatric diseases
• Low self-esteem
• Sexual attitudes and upbringing
• Problems in a relationship
There are a number of prescription drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction. Be sure to discuss the possible side effects of any medication with your doctor before you begin taking them. Common culprits include:
• Drugs to control high blood pressure
• Drugs that lower cholesterol
• Drugs for heart conditions
• Some diuretics
• Antiulcer drugs
• Medications to treat problems with the prostate (prostate cancer, BPH)
• Alpha-adrenergic blockers
• Central nervous system stimulants
• Cancer chemotherapy medications
If you have any questions about erectile dysfunction or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call. We will always provide our patients with compassionate care and advice.
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