What causes erectile dysfunction? Pharmacist reveals how impotence affects men
According to a report in 2018, at least half of men in their thirties are affected by erectile dysfunction (ED).
While many men feel uncomfortable or embarrassed talking about their penises, those affected by it should know it’s very common.
In fact, erectile dysfunction, known as impotence, affects at least one in five men in the UK.
Symptoms of the condition include having trouble achieving an erection and a reduced libido.
Here we reveal the causes of erectile dysfunction and how to treat impotence.
What is erectile dysfunction?
ED is the inability for men to achieve and maintain an erection firm enough to have sex.
In the penis, there are two long cylinder-shaped chambers called the corpora cavernosa which have a network of blood vessels, tissue, open pockets and two main arteries in each of them.
When men are turned on, their brain sends a signal to the blood vessels in the penis, which relaxes the arteries to allow an increase flow of blood.
Pressure starts to build in the corpora cavernosa which expands the penis and allows men to maintain an erection.
However, when there’s not enough blood flow to the penis, this can lead to erectile dysfunction.
What are symptoms of ED?
You may be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction if you regularly:
1. Have trouble achieving an erection
2. Struggle to maintain an erection during sexual activity
3. Have a reduced libido
What causes erectile dysfunction?
Sexual arousal in men is extremely complex because it involves the brain, emotions, hormones, nerves, muscles and blood vessels, so it’s hard identifying a specific cause for it.
If you are having problems with any of these things, then the likely consequence will be erectile dysfunction.
ED can be divided into two categories, physical and physiological causes.
Here are physical causes of erectile dysfunction:
1. High blood pressure and high cholesterol
2. Some prescription medications
4. Tobacco use
7. Heart disease
8. Sleep disorders
9. Multiple sclerosis
10. Parkinson’s disease
Here are physiological causes of erectile dysfunction
1. Performance anxiety
4. Relationship problems
“Psychology can also play a role in erectile dysfunction”
Ana Carolina Goncalves
Ana Carolina Goncalves, a superintendant pharmacist at Pharmica, told Daily Star Online: “Psychology can also play a role in erectile dysfunction.
“When we feel anxious or stressed, we release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
“Cortisol and adrenalin can suppress the production of the sexual hormones oestrogen and testosterone, lowering your libido and causing you to find it more difficult to achieve and maintain an erection.”
If you do experience erectile dysfunction and believe it may be a result of your medication, you should consult your doctor.
Similarly, you should visit your GP if you are having any sexual problems which can be caused by the factors mentioned.
Your doctor may be able to help identify the issue and can find the best possible treatment for erectile dysfunction.
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