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fact of erectile dysfunction

What is ED?

ED is a man's inability to get or sustain an erection. An erection is caused by signals from the brain to the nerves in the penis, resulting in increased blood flow. The tissue in the penis begins to expand and harden as a result of this signal. That means any issue which interferes with the nervous system could lead to ED.

It is estimated that up to half of men aged 40 to 70 suffer with ED. However, it is hard to pinpoint an exact figure as many males are too embarrassed to talk about the issue. With so many men potentially experiencing ED, however, it seems there is little reason to feel alone.

Causes of ED

The majority of cases (70 per cent) of ED are caused by physical factors, with around 20 per cent brought on by psychological issues. Some of the physical reasons can be symptomatic of an underlying health problem, such as high blood pressure, which is why it is so important to contact a doctor if the symptoms do not subside after a few weeks.

Cardiovascular disease and diabetes can also lead to ED, which can be brought on by a restricted flow of blood to the penis. That is another reason why a healthy diet and regular exercise is not only better for wellbeing, but a person's sex life too.

Hormonal changes in the body can also impact on a man's ability to get an erection. An overactive or underactive thyroid might be behind ED, or it could be a symptom of cushing's syndrome - a condition that affects the production of cortisol.

Surgery or injury to the nerves affecting the flow of blood to the penis might also be a physical cause of ED. In fact, damage to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder or pelvis could all play a role in the development of the condition.

On the other hand, psychological factors that might reduce a man's chances of achieving an erection include stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and feelings of guilt. Relationship problems can also be behind the cause of ED, so it is important to be open with your partner and try to iron out any issues that may be contributing to the condition.

Lowering the risk of ED

There are a number of steps men can take to help reduce their chances of experiencing ED. Quitting smoking and losing weight were necessary are two possible ways to cut down the risk. It is also advisable to moderate alcohol intake, avoid recreational drugs and deal effectively with stress and anxiety to help ensure a good sex life remains intact.