Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to get or sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. It’s a common condition affecting 33 million American men. An occasional failure in achieving an erection can happen to most men at some point during their lives. However, when it occurs frequently, it becomes a problem that can affects a man’s masculinity, and an erode their self confidence. Below is part one of the most frequently asked questions regarding erectile dysfunction.
How Does An Erection Occur?
When aroused, nerve impulses travel from the brain to the penis. This triggers the relaxation of the smooth muscle in the penis which then allows increased blood flow into the tissues. As the penis fills with blood it will enlarge and become erect. As the penis enlarges it compresses the veins inhibiting blood flow out of the penis, thus sustaining the erection. The penis will stay erect until ejaculation or when arousal stops.
How Common Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is fairly common. The Department of Urology at the University of Washington estimates that it affects up to 30 million American men — that’s about 1 in 5 males. The chances of developing ED increase as a man ages. Nearly half of men 75 or older may have ED, while only 4 percent of men in their 50s have it.
Is Erectile Dysfunction A Normal Part Of Aging?
No, the number of men affected increase with age, but it is not inevitable and it is treatable. Around half of men aged between 40-70 years will experience some degree of erectile dysfunction and this rises to about 70% of those over the age of 70.
What Are The Physical Causes Of erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction can result from a wide variety of factors. Some forms are temporary, such as erectile dysfunction resulting from stress, fatigue, depression or excessive use of drugs and alcohol. Other forms of ED however are far more chronic and persistent in nature. Common causes include diabetes, male hormone deficiencies, side effects of certain prescription medicines, interference with blood flow to the penis (due to high cholesterol or high blood pressure), and prostate surgery or surgery on other nearby organs in the pelvis which can affect sexual performance.
Are There Psychological Causes To Erectile Dysfunction?
Yes. It is very common to see a combination of psychological and physical causes but pure psychological causes are unusual. Problems with the ability to get and maintain an erection can also be caused by stress, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, embarrassment, guilt and many other reasons.