Potential causes of ED

ED can be a sign of an underlying problem, or a combination of problems, that can be psychological or physical.4 For some people, ED only occurs in certain situations. For example, you may wake up with an erection, but find you’re unable to get one with your sexual partner. If this is the case, it is likely that the underlying cause is psychological. Men whose ED is due to physical causes will often experience a gradual onset of erectile problems, which usually occur with all sexual activities.1

Common physical causes of ED1,4

  • Vascular (blood flow): the narrowing of the blood vessels going to the penis – commonly associated with high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or diabetes
  • Neurological (nervous system): caused by complications around chronic diseases, trauma or surgical injury
  • Hormonal: generally low testosterone levels or abnormal thyroid hormones
  • Side effects of certain medicines: it’s important to keep taking a prescribed medication, unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor, but you can always ask if alternative medicines are available

Common psychological causes of ED4

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Relationship problems

Treatment

Once you have received a diagnosis, your doctor will talk you through treatment options and potential lifestyle changes.5

 

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1
Sexual Advice Association (2016). Erectile dysfunction. Available at: http://sexualadviceassociation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Men-9.-Erectile-dysfunction-V4.pdf. Date accessed: July 2017.
2
Hackett G, et al. J Sex Med 2008;5(8):1841-65. Available at: http://www.bssm.org.uk/downloads/BSSM_ED_Management_Guidelines_2007.pdf. Date accessed: July 2017.
3
Patient.co.uk (2016). Erectile dysfunction. Available at: https://patient.info/health/erectile-dysfunction-impotence. Date accessed: July 2017.
4
NHS Choices. Erectile dysfunction (impotence) – Causes (2014). Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Erectile-dysfunction/Pages/Causes.aspx. Date accessed: July 2017.
5
NHS Choices (2014). Erectile dysfunction (impotence) – Introduction. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Erectile-dysfunction/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Date accessed: July 2017.
6
NHS Choices (2014). Erectile dysfunction (impotence) – Treatment. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Erectile-dysfunction/Pages/Treatment.aspx. Date accessed: July 2017.
7
Vardi Y. J Urol 2000;163(2):467–470.
8
Yeager J and Beihn RM. Int J Impot Res 2005;17:91–95.
9
Steidle C, et al. Urology 2002;60:1077–1082.
10
Viagra (sildenafil) Summary of Product Characteristics 2016. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/1474. Date accessed: July 2017.
11
Cialis (tadalafil) Summary of Product Characteristics 2017. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/11363. Date accessed: July 2017.
12
Levitra (vardenafil) Summary of Product Characteristics 2016. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/24374. Date accessed: July 2017.

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