Doctors have learned in recent years that erectile dysfunction can be caused by a number of different factors, and narrowing down the possible causes can lead to effective treatment. At one time, erectile dysfunction was known simply as impotence, and the causes were merely guessed at. The problem is embarrassing and the sheer fear of a repeated problem can perpetuate the actual disorder.
Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Often erectile dysfunction is caused by reduced blood flow to the penis or nerve damage. These can come from seemingly unrelated health issues, like diabetes, vascular disease, and hormone imbalances. Arteriosclerosis, for example, is a vascular disease that can cause a reduction of blood flow through the body, and 50 to 60% of men who suffer from arteriosclerosis experience erectile dysfunction as a parallel symptom.
Drug Side Effects
Over 200 prescription medications have been found to cause erectile dysfunction in at lease some of the patients who take them. Antidepressants, heart medications, blood pressure medications, tranquilizers, and sedatives are all classifications of drugs that can lead to erectile dysfunction in men. In addition, there are a number of over-the-counter medications that can cause impotence. Illicit drugs and alcohol have also been known to cause erectile dysfunction on a short term or long term basis.
Trauma or injury to the spinal cord can lead to nerve damage and ultimately cause erectile dysfunction. Additionally, various surgeries to the colon, prostate, bladder, or rectum can also cause nerve damage that may affect the ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction could occur due to depression, guilt, worry, stress, or anxiety. This is often a singular event, but can perpetuate itself if a man is worried that it will happen again. A man can literally scare or worry himself into chronic erectile dysfunction. The chronic anxiety caused by the fear that the problem will happen again can lead to long term issues.