5 Factors That Fuel Erectile Dysfunction

5 Factors That Fuel Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common — and complex — condition. It’s characterized by the inability to get an erection or keep it long enough for satisfactory sex. But the causes and the effects of ED are as unique as the men who suffer from it.

Getting an erection is part of your body’s sexual response, which is a combination of physical, mental, and emotional factors. An issue with any part of this process can interrupt your sexual experience. In fact, sexual health and overall health are inextricably linked.

As sexual health specialists, Stuart Shoengold, MD, and our team at the Center for Female and Male Sexual Medicine work with men of all ages to diagnose and treat their ED. We’ve helped countless men to better understand their health and improve their sex lives. 

While there are many possible causes of ED, our experience has shown that a few health factors fuel ED symptoms more often than others.

1. Low testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone that influences male characteristics, from sexual reproduction to body mass. Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout your life, and naturally begin declining with age. However, if testosterone drops too low, it could cause ED.

Low testosterone is a leading cause of ED. Inadequate testosterone can also cause low sex drive, fatigue, weight gain, and other symptoms, but it’s treatable with hormone replacement therapy.

2. Diabetes

About one in 10 Americans has diabetes, a metabolic condition that occurs when your blood sugar is elevated. High blood sugar damages nerves and circulation over time, which could impact sexual health.

Although diabetes and ED are two separate conditions, men with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to develop ED than men who don’t have diabetes. That’s because diabetic nerve damage can make it harder to get aroused and achieve an erection.

3. Heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease limits your heart function and restricts blood flow throughout your body.

A firm erection requires increased blood flow to your penis. But if you have heart disease, your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your penis to create and sustain an erection.

4. High blood pressure

Oxygen-rich blood flows from your heart to the rest of your body through your arteries. Healthy arteries are soft and flexible, but high blood pressure can cause atherosclerosis, a condition that makes your arteries harden.

Nearly 50% of American men have high blood pressure. When high blood pressure goes untreated, your risk of atherosclerosis increases. Atherosclerosis is linked to ED because it can block or narrow your arteries, restricting blood flow to your penis when you’re aroused.

5. Lifestyle factors

ED is often linked to preexisting health conditions like low testosterone, diabetes, and heart conditions. However, certain lifestyle factors may also increase your risk. 

These include:

Most lifestyle factors won’t cause ED on their own, but they can exacerbate symptoms, especially if you have other risk factors for ED.

What to do about ED

Have you noticed that your sex life isn’t what it used to be? Struggling to get and maintain an erection that’s firm enough for sexual intercourse can be frustrating and embarrassing.

The good news is that you have ED treatment options. Dr. Shoengold and our team partner with you to uncover the factors that are fueling your ED, and then we develop a treatment plan that works for you.

If you have an underlying health condition, actively managing it can help reduce complications and symptoms of ED. Lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking and exercising regularly, can also make a big difference for many men with ED.

We also offer a range of medical treatments for ED. Psychotherapy can help you address any mental or emotional issues linked to ED. Drug therapy like Viagra®, shockwave therapy, or even vacuum devices can also be effective options.

You don’t have to be embarrassed about your ED symptoms. Dr. Shoengold and our team offer confidential evaluations and ED treatments to help you feel confident in the bedroom again.

Call our office in Millburn, New Jersey, at 973-218-9400 or book your first appointment online now.

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