Can Erectile Dysfunction Happen for No Reason?
What Can Cause ED?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence can include symptoms like:
- Trouble getting an erection
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Lack of sex drive
It’s not unusual to experience erection trouble from time to time, but when it becomes a frequent issue, it can lead to stress, loss of self-confidence, and problems in relationships. ED can also be a sign of other health problems that need treatment.
Let’s explore the causes of ED and the treatments available.
Common Causes of ED
Because sex involves both emotional or psychological and physical factors, the causes of ED may be complex. For many, stress and mental health directly influence sexual function, including ED. Once you’ve experienced ED, you may become anxious about it happening again, increasing worry and the likelihood of having more ED.
Psychological Causes of ED
Anything that affects your brain can also impact your sexual function and ED. Common psychological triggers of ED include:
- Relationship problems
Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
Many chronic health conditions can lead to ED. These include things like:
- Heart disease
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries or clogged blood vessels)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Overweight or obesity
- Metabolic syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Some prescription medications like antidepressants, antihistamines, medicines for high blood pressure, pain, or prostate conditions
- Tobacco use
- Peyronie’s disease
- Alcohol or substance use
- Sleep disorders
- Treatments for prostate cancer
- Enlarged prostate
- Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvis and spinal cord
- Low testosterone levels
As you get older, you may notice a change in the quality of your erection. It may take longer to get an erection, and it might not seem as firm.
The good news is that some healthy lifestyle choices and ways to manage chronic health conditions can help prevent ED. These include:
- Working with your healthcare provider to manage heart problems, diabetes, and other chronic health problems
- Having regular screenings with your health care provider to monitor things like cholesterol levels and prostate screening
- Stop smoking
- Limit or avoid alcohol
- Don’t use illegal drugs
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce your stress levels
- Seek help for any mental health disorders like anxiety or depression
Treatment of ED
It may feel embarrassing to talk to your healthcare provider about ED, but it can often be reversed or improved with treatment. At Vitality Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine, we can help determine the causes of ED and the most effective treatment options. Treatment will depend on the cause of your ED, and our experts will personalize a treatment plan that addresses the cause of your ED.
Often, ED responds to oral medication. These are prescription medications like sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis). Medicines work by increasing the effects of nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide increases blood flow and relaxes muscles. Depending on the medication, it can be taken as needed or daily. Medications won’t cause you to get an erection but help it happen when you are sexually stimulated.
Injectable and other medications
There are a few other medications that can help with ED. These include:
- Alprostadil (Caverject). This medication is injected into the base of the penis with a very tiny needle. It can produce an erection that will last for about an hour. Because the needle used is so tiny, the injection is not painful. Alprostadil can also be given in a small suppository placed into the urethra (urine tube). An erection can start within 10 minutes of placing the suppository and last up to an hour.
- Testosterone replacement. Low testosterone levels are often responsible for both lack of sex drive and ED. Fortunately, testosterone levels can be checked through laboratory testing and treated if they are low. Testosterone replacement can be given by injection or pellet therapy.
Pumps, surgery, and implants
There are still options if medications aren’t helping or aren’t appropriate. These include:
- Penis pumps. Hand or battery-powered pumps are placed over the penis, creating a vacuum that helps create an erection by pulling blood into the penis.
- Penile implants. During surgery, rods are inserted on both sides of the penis. The rods are inflatable or bendable, allowing you to control when and how long your erection lasts.
The causes of ED are varied, but there are treatments available that can make all the difference. It’s essential to establish an open conversation with your healthcare provider, who can help you explore treatment options.