Erectile Dysfunction is the inability to maintain a firm erection for intercourse.
Most men suffer from this problem at some point in their life. However, prolonged loss of erection is a serious problem, and you should immediately seek treatment.
Did you know that approximately 39% of men younger than 40 have erectile dysfunction problems and more than 60% of individuals over the age of 70 have significant erectile dysfunction problems? No? Well, they do!
However, did you ever think that what leads to erection? It is a result of blood rushing from the abdomen to the penis through several smaller arteries. Therefore, a good erection is only possible if a person has healthy blood pressure and arteries. Any medical condition, medication, or habit that hinders this process is the cause of erectile dysfunction. Therefore, let us look at some of its reasons in detail and its prevention.
Reasons for losing erection
A good erection is not impossible until everything — hormones, blood vessels, nerves, and brain, work in unison. However, anything otherwise would lead to erection problems.
Let us talk about some common causes of erectile dysfunction.
The number of diabetic patients is increasing drastically. What is the big deal? Diabetes not only increases blood sugar levels but can also lead to Erectile Dysfunction.
Why does this happen?
During sexual arousal, the man's body releases Nitric-oxide. This hormone relaxes the arteries in the penis and improves the blood flow in the penis for a good erection.
However, diabetes reduces the production of nitric oxide in the body. The blood sugar level of a diabetic person swings a lot, which causes the nitric-oxide level to fluctuate. This condition causes Erectile Dysfunction. Therefore, in simple terms, low levels of Nitric-oxide due to diabetes hinder the blood flow to the penis, which causes a poor erection.
2. High blood pressure
According to a study published in The American Geriatrics Society journal, more than 50% of men with high blood pressure in the age group of 40 to 70 years develop Erectile Dysfunction.
But why does high blood pressure cause ED?
During sexual arousal, arteries expand and facilitate the proper blood flow to the penis, helping to get a healthy erection.
High blood pressure can cause a reduced cross-section of blood vessels hindering the penis's proper blood flow towards the penis.
3. Clogged arteries (Atherosclerosis)
Atherosclerosis is when plaque starts getting deposited on the walls of blood vessels. It causes heart diseases but is also responsible for Erectile Dysfunction.
But why does Atherosclerosis lead to Erectile Dysfunction?
During arousal, blood from the abdominal region flows to the lower abdomen near the penis. However, in Atherosclerosis, the arteries of the lower abdomen develop plaque, which hinders the blood flow to the penis, resulting in erectile problems.
Depression has become a widespread problem among the adult population across the globe. Did you know that depression can cause Erectile Dysfunction?
But how does depression lead to erectile dysfunction?
Sexual arousal starts from the mind. This complex process consists of various chemicals, their proportion, and their reactions, and only after that, a man gets a firm erection. For example, when a man has sexual stimulation, his body's dopamine level increases. Dopamine stimulates the erection of the penis.
When a man suffers from depression, his body's dopamine level decreases, causing low sexual stimulation, severe depression, and prolonged reduced dopamine levels, which causes Erectile Dysfunction.
5. Parkinson's diseases
Parkinson's disease affects a person's nervous system and movements. Did you know that almost 60,000 individuals in the USA live with Parkinson's disease? What's the big deal? This disease can also lead to erectile dysfunction.
But why and how does Parkinson's disease lead to erectile dysfunction?
Parkinson's disease damages an individual's autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for various processes in our body. These processes we can control consciously. Interestingly, our sexual drive is also governed by the Autonomic Nervous System.
This disease also destroys the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. As dopamine production stops, a person starts experiencing low libido, which leads to erectile problems.
Antidepressants can help you deal with depression, but they can also lead to loosing erection soon. Did you know that one in every five Americans suffers from depression? The fact also implies that he/she might be using antidepressants to get rid of the issues. Men among those patients have a high probability of developing erectile dysfunction.
But why do antidepressants cause Erectile Dysfunction?
Antidepressants disturb the chemical balance in our brains. Many increase the serotonin level in our body. Higher serotonin levels improve the transmission of signals in our nervous system. The hormone also calms the patients; however, studies say that these hormones can decrease an individual's libido, causing erectile problems.
7. Low testosterone levels.
Testosterone is the male growth hormone. It is responsible for muscle mass and bone density in men. However, low levels of testosterone cause ED, how? Let's dig deeper.
Testosterone is responsible for maintaining a healthy sex drive. When the level of testosterone decreases, the sexual drive also decreases. According to sexologists, the sexual arousal begins in the brain, hence the beginning of a healthy erection. Therefore, with low sexual drive, it becomes impossible to have a proper erection.
8. Blood pressure medicines (especially beta-blockers)
Today, there is almost no disease or health issue that science has left untreated, but solutions to some problems came with side effects. For instance, medications for blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction. How?
High blood pressure to the penis ensures a healthy and firm erection, achieved when epinephrine levels increase in our body.
Epinephrine contracts the blood vessels leading to the penis and, thus, helps in pumping blood forcefully. It helps us cope with stress. When a man takes blood pressure medication, epinephrine levels decrease in our body, lowers the blood pressure to the penis, required for an erection.
There is one more reason for Erectile Dysfunction caused blood by pressure medication. One such cause is that it obstructs the formation of Zinc in the body.
Why? Zinc helps in the production of testosterone. Blood pressure medication decreases zinc levels in our body, which leads to low testosterone production. Low testosterone level decreases libido, required for erection.
9. Sleeping pills
Sleeping pills can cause erectile problems as a side effect. During sexual arousal, there is a lot of brain activity responsible for registering the various sexual stimulations going on in a man's body. Sleeping pills slow down brain activity, helping a person to sleep. Less neurological activity creates a situation where it can become impossible for a man to react to sexual stimulation and have an erection.
10. Nicotine, alcohol, or cocaine use.
There have been numerous studies confirming the adverse effects of cigarettes on erectile dysfunction. When blood is pumped to the penis, it requires dilated arteries for high-pressure blood flow, which leads to a good erection. However, when a person smokes, he injects his routes with carbon monoxide and acetone. These chemicals damage arteries and decrease their width, which hinders a good blood flow towards the penis and hence, leads to erectile problems. Nicotine will also cause reduced artery width, which will decrease blood flow towards the penis. Thus, it causes erectile problems.
How can we prevent erectile dysfunction? Let's read below: -
While smoking, you let in certain chemicals, such as nicotine, acetone, and carbon monoxide.
As nicotine, acetone, and carbon monoxide can hinder the passage of blood to the penis by decreasing the arteries' volume, it can lead to erectile problems as a good flow of blood is vital for a proper erection.
Therefore, quitting smoking is one way to prevent Erectile dysfunction. Researchers found that when a man quits smoking, his arteries start detoxifying from these chemicals, and thus, they start regaining their blood carrying capacity to the penis. An individual who gives up smoking can experience better erection and enjoy sex.
Erection is a part of good sexual experience, which starts from the brain. However, when the brain is tired, the chances for a person to enjoy sex reduce by multiple folds.
What can you do?
Simple! It would be best if you focused on getting enough and quality sleep.
While sleeping, our body releases testosterone, which is very important for a healthy libido.
By sleeping better, you would also reduce stress, which in return would increase your libido and hence, could improve your erection.
High testosterone levels and good blood circulation are essential for a healthy erection.
Exercising increases testosterone. It also improves the blood circulation in our body. Therefore, improve your erection.
Moreover, studies say that our testosterone level deteriorates as we age and can result in a poor erection. However, by exercising every day, we can maintain our testosterone at an optimum level.
Excessive fat reduces testosterone levels in a male's body. Therefore, Maintaining a healthy weight is essential in preventing erectile dysfunction. Apart from that, maintaining a healthy weight also improves blood circulation.
When the fat starts accumulating in our body, it begins by getting accumulated over muscles and tissues; however, when the process continues, it starts accumulating in our arteries, making them thick and has less potential for regulating blood.
We know that good blood circulation is crucial for a good erection. Therefore, excessive fat or being overweight can adversely affect a man's erection.
Erectile dysfunction is not a life-threatening problem, but it can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, which are fatal to a healthy life. Therefore, it is essential to address it.
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