Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of a man to keep an erection in order to perform sexual activity. Or in other words – ‘he can’t get it up’. It is more common than you think, but why? What causes ED?
There are several things that need to be taken into account if you or someone you know is having difficulty keeping an erection. To start, it’s important to know how an erection begins. When a man is sexually stimulated, nerves are activated and in turn they dilate (make larger) certain blood vessels to allow for more blood to flow into the penis. Once the blood has flown inside the penis, valves close in order to keep the blood inside, which causes the penis to stand hard as an erection.
Since a well-working system of nerves and blood vessels are an important part of getting and maintaining an erection, it’s no wonder that degenerative diseases such as old age, blood and heart vessel diseases and Multiple Sclerosis (degeneration of the nervous system) will affect the ability of a man to get an erection. As a man gets older, or as one of these diseases form, he will slowly begin to experience more and more difficulty maintaining an erection.
Many other causes of ED can be temporary, and by taking the right steps, ED can be completely reversible. Side effects from many prescription drugs can cause erectile dysfunction, as well as recreational use of drugs and alcohol. Many recreational drugs decrease the brain’s response to sexual stimulus, while alcohol and cigarettes can cause ED by damaging nerves and arteries in the penis. By ceasing to ingest these drugs, the problem will usually clear up on its own. If you are taking drug prescribed by a doctor, however, speak to him about what is happening and ask about changing medications – don’t just stop taking your medication unless your doctor gives you permission.
In approximately 10 % of the cases, the cause for ED is purely psychological. Stress is a large factor in erectile dysfunction, and some men may have past issues, sexual or not, that they need to deal with before they are capable of having a proper erection. Talking to a psychologist who specializes in sex could help you uncover the black in your mind that is not allowing you to maintain an erection.
Most cases of erectile dysfunction can be cured or at least helped. If your ED is caused by damaged nerves or vessels, medication may be the only option – but hold that off as a last resort. Put your shame aside, and speak to your doctor about your problem. It’s more common than you think, and they’ll be able to help you diagnose the issue and help you fix it.