Erectile dysfunction. Two words that can put any man on edge – it’s a highly personal and somewhat embarrassing subject to discuss. Because of this, men can sometimes suffer in silence, which isn’t necessary – erectile dysfunction is nothing to be ashamed of! It’s actually extremely common among men in the UK. So, what actually causes it, and what can you do about it? Let us break it down for you.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction – Physical
The general physical causes of erectile dysfunction are linked to circulation and blood pressure. Heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure can all affect the amount of blood flowing to the penis.
Obesity can cause changes in blood pressure, the body, and your cholesterol which may lead to Erectile dysfunction. Other conditions that can contribute to erectile dysfunction include Parkinson’s, sleep disorders, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Taking certain medications can also increase your risk for ED.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction – Psychological
It’s been found that between 10% and 20% of ED problems have a psychological reason. As arousal begins in the brain, psychological issues can be a meaningful contributing factor to ED. Mental health conditions like depression or anxiety can negatively impact your libido, making it more challenging for you to become aroused.
Stress is also a major factor because it may limit your brain sending signals to allow extra blood to pass to the penis. In many cases, psychological issues grow into performance anxiety.
It can be tough to pin down the precise cause for your erectile dysfunction. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying! if you leave it, ED can add to stress and anxiety as well create low self-esteem, relationship dilemmas, and lower libido.
What is your next step?
- Erectile Dysfunction drugs – Medications like Sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) stimulate blood flow to the penis, allowing you to achieve an erection when you are sexually stimulated (thankfully, you won’t just get an erection immediately after taking them). These medications need to be taken before engaging in sexual activity.
- Visit a Psychiatrist – For psychological causes of erectile dysfunction, therapy can be useful. Psychosexual counselling is a popular method because it helps address negative patterns of thought that can contribute to performance anxiety.
- Lifestyle Changes – In cases where lifestyle factors such as obesity, an unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise play into erectile dysfunction, making healthy changes to your lifestyle may resolve the underlying conditions causing your symptoms.
- Visit a doctor – ED can be a sign of underlying health problems such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure – so rather than simply trying to cure the symptom, it is important to make sure there isn’t something serious going on.
Scott McDougall (MPharm) is a clinical pharmacist and in addition to being Cornerstone’s senior in-house pharmacist, is the co-founder of The Independent Pharmacy, one of the UK’s leading independent online pharmacies.