There are many ways a man’s ability to get and sustain an erection can become problematic, and they include psychological, physical and medical reasons. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction, and why they cause the issue.

When Does Erectile Dysfunction Occur?

Getting an erection is a lot more complicated than you might think! When you are aroused, some nerves in your brain produce lots of little signals that travel down through your spine, straight to your penis, and tell it to increase the flow of blood. This makes the surrounding tissue expand and harden, preparing it for sexual intercourse. Impotence occurs when something interrupts the nervous system or blood flow, or the brain fails to trigger an erection; this is often known as a loss of libido.

Physical Causes Of Impotence

There are several major contributories to erectile dysfunction that can be classed as physical problems. These are hormonal, vasculogenic, and neurogenic.

  • Neurogenic conditions are those which affect your brain, spinal cord and nervous system. These can include diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and strokes.
  • Vasculogenic conditions are associated with blood flow; in this case, to the penis. This means you could experience impotence if you suffer from high blood pressure, high cholestrol, or atherosclerosis (which is a hardening of the arteries).
  • Hormonal problems include those which have an effect on your body’s hormone levels, such as the testosterone imbalance that can occur when you suffer from liver disease, depression, pituitary gland tumors, and when undergoing hormone treatment for prostate cancer.

Psychological Factors

Men who suffer from depression, anxiety, or stress can sometimes develop erectile dysfunction. There are other reasons why impotence can occur, too. You might be: having relationship problems; carrying psychological scars from sexual abuse in the past; worried about being in a new relationship; or be embarrassed about a lack of sexual experience.

Psychological erectile dysfunction can also develop from the physical conditions listed above. The physical problem begins the process, but then a psychological barrier forms; you become anxious; and you are unable to get or maintain an erection.

Medical Factors

If you are on prescribed medicine, you may also develop symptoms of impotence. If you have just started a new course of drugs and are concerned that it is having an effect on your ability to get an erection, it is important to speak to your doctor, who will try and find an alternative for you. Medicine that can cause impotence includes, but is not limited to, antidepressants, beta blockers, corticosteroids, antihistamines, cytotoxics, diuretics and H2-antagonists, amongst others.