What are the Physical causes of erectile dysfunction?

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Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common condition that affects millions of men. It’s also something that most people don’t discuss openly. But like any other health issue, erectile dysfunction can be treated—and in most cases, the sooner you get help, the better.

The causes of erectile dysfunction are many and varied, but most fall into one of these three categories: physical problems with your body; emotional issues affecting your sex life; and relationship problems related to the way you communicate with your partner about sex or intimacy.

Depending on the cause of your ED, there are different ways to treat it. If you’re experiencing physical causes (such as hypertension or diabetes), then medications may be used to treat those conditions first so that they don’t interfere with your ability to have an erection later on. If emotional issues are causing erectile dysfunction for you, then therapy may be recommended before trying any medications at all. And if relationship problems are causing trouble between you and your partner(s), couples counseling may help resolve those issues so that they don’t stand in the way when it comes time for sex!

In this article, we’ll discuss the physical causes of erectile dysfunction.



Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty deposits build up in the walls of arteries, restricting blood flow. Atherosclerosis can occur in any artery in the body, but it most often affects the coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart.

As the plaque builds up inside an artery, it causes a narrowing of the artery’s opening (the lumen), which limits how much blood passes through that section of artery. The narrower opening means that less oxygen-rich blood reaches your heart muscle, which can lead to chest pain (angina) or even a heart attack if you don’t get treatment for atherosclerosis early enough.

The plaque can also rupture and release cholesterol into your bloodstream, which can cause clots to form and block blood flow even further. If this happens in an artery supplying blood to your penis, erectile dysfunction may result.



Diabetes is a common cause of erectile dysfunction, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on your blood sugar if you’re diabetic.

If you have diabetes, your blood sugar may be too high or too low. If it’s too high, your body has trouble absorbing glucose from food and converting it into energy. If this happens over time, then the ability of your erectile tissue to swell up with blood will be impaired.

The other type of diabetes that can lead to erectile dysfunction is called hypoglycemia or insulin resistance. Hypoglycemia occurs when there isn’t enough insulin in your body to move glucose around, so it stays in the bloodstream and causes dehydration. Insulin resistance is when your body doesn’t respond well to insulin anymore—so even though there may be plenty of insulin in your system, it doesn’t do its job properly because the receptors on cells don’t recognize it as well as they used to (like most things). Both conditions can lead to erectile dysfunction by making it difficult for blood vessels within the penis to expand properly during arousal.


Heart Disease

Many people think that erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological issues, but erectile dysfunction can also be caused by physical problems.

One of the most common physical causes of erectile dysfunction is heart disease. The blood that travels through your body has to pass through your heart. When your heart isn’t working properly, it can’t pump enough blood to your penis. This can cause erectile dysfunction.

Heart disease can also cause other health problems, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. If you have any of these conditions, you may need to see a doctor who specializes in treating them.

The good news is that with proper treatment and self-care, you can keep your heart healthy and improve your ability to have an erection.


High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is one of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction, according to the American Heart Association. In fact, the association says that up to 80 percent of men aged 40 and older who have erectile dysfunction also have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

The reason for this link is that when you have high LDL cholesterol levels in your body, it can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and arterial disease. This can cause blood flow problems throughout your body, including in your penis. This means when you get excited and aroused, it’s harder for blood to flow into your penis.

If you have erectile dysfunction and high cholesterol levels, it’s important to talk with your doctor about treatment options. They may recommend medications or lifestyle changes such as exercise and dietary changes in order to lower your cholesterol levels and improve blood flow throughout your body.


High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a common cause of erectile dysfunction. The arteries in your penis are responsible for carrying blood throughout your body, and if they are constricted due to high blood pressure, they may not be able to adequately supply the penis with blood. High blood pressure can also cause plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to blockage and impotence.

High Blood Pressure can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption. If you think that you may have high blood pressure it is important to speak with your doctor about treatment options that may help prevent erectile dysfunction from occurring in the future.


Hormonal Problems

Hormonal problems can cause erectile dysfunction. Hormones are chemicals that control the body’s processes, including sexual functions. Hormones are produced by glands in the endocrine system, which is part of the body’s reproductive system.

The male sex hormones include testosterone and androstenedione. Testosterone is made in the testicles (testes) and carried in the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Androstenedione is made in the testicles and adrenal glands. It helps convert excess testosterone into estrogen, a female hormone that causes breast development during puberty.

The female sex hormones include estrogens (estradiol), progesterone, and progestin. Estrogens are produced by ovaries (ova). The ovaries also make progesterone, which prepares the uterus for pregnancy each month by thickening its walls and preparing it to receive an egg from an unfertilized ovum (egg cell). Progestin is produced by corpus luteum—a temporary gland that forms when an ovum is released from an ovary during ovulation—and helps prepare the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg cell during pregnancy.


Nerve Disorders and injury

The most common nerve disorder that causes erectile dysfunction is called diabetic neuropathy. This condition occurs when there is a loss of sensation or feeling in the penis. As a result, it can be difficult for the penis to become erect because the nerves that stimulate blood flow to the penis are not working properly.

Another common cause of erectile dysfunction is injury to the nerves or blood vessels that supply blood to the penis. This can happen during surgery to repair an aneurysm, which is a bulge in a blood vessel that restricts blood flow through the area. It also can occur after surgery for prostate cancer and after radiation treatment for prostate cancer has been completed.


Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, behavior and cognition. Parkinson’s disease can cause erectile dysfunction in men.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the loss of dopamine-secreting cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Dopamine is important for normal sexual function because it helps regulate blood flow to the penis.

A person with Parkinson’s disease may have trouble getting or maintaining an erection because he has less dopamine available to send signals to his penis. The lack of dopamine also affects other parts of the brain that control sexual behavior and desire, so people with Parkinson’s disease may have fewer sexual thoughts and less desire than they did before they developed the disorder.


Vascular disease

Vascular disease is one of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction. This can be caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which restricts blood flow to the penis. Atherosclerosis causes plaque buildup in your arteries, which leads to reduced blood flow and reduced oxygen supply to your heart and brain. When this happens, it’s harder for you to get an erection because it’s harder for your body to get enough blood flowing into your penis to trigger an erection.

The good news is that vascular diseases are very treatable! There are a number of ways you can manage vascular diseases:

– Exercise regularly. Regular exercise helps improve overall health and lower your risk of having a stroke or heart attack—which helps you stay healthy while also reducing your risk of erectile dysfunction.

– Eat well. Eating healthy food helps reduce inflammation in your arteries, which helps reduce plaque buildup and improves blood flow throughout your body—including through your penis!


Neurological disorders

Neurological disorders refer to any disorder that affects the nervous system, which is composed of the brain and spinal cord. They can be categorized as either peripheral or central nervous system disorders.

The peripheral nervous system is made up of all the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. It includes all the sensory nerves, motor nerves and autonomic nerves. The autonomic nerves control involuntary functions such as heart rate, breathing and digestion. Peripheral nervous system disorders include diseases like multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Central nervous system disorders are those that affect the brain or spinal cord itself. These include traumatic brain injury (TBI), Parkinson’s disease, strokes and aneurysms.



Obesity is a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction (ED). This is because obesity causes physical changes in the body that can lead to ED.

Obesity affects the arteries, which can cause them to become less flexible and narrower, making it more difficult for blood to flow through them. As a result, men with obesity may experience less blood flow to their penises. This can cause erections that are weaker or take longer than normal to occur.

Obesity also affects hormone levels and production. For example, increased levels of insulin have been linked to ED in men who are overweight or obese.

In addition, obesity may affect the nerves that control sexual function. The nerve fibers that carry signals between the brain and genitals meet at certain points along the spinal cord called sacral roots. These nerve fibers help regulate sexual arousal and ejaculation. If you’re obese, your sacral roots may be stretched out from carrying extra weight around your waistline—and this can reduce their ability to transmit messages between your brain and genitals properly.”


Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that can increase your chance of developing heart disease and diabetes. The most common symptoms of metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides (fat in the blood), and abdominal obesity.

As you age, your risk for metabolic syndrome increases because it’s associated with other conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

One study found that men who developed erectile dysfunction were more likely to have metabolic syndrome than those without ED. In fact, the risk rose by 50 percent or more depending on whether they had three or four factors from the list above.



There are many physical causes of erectile dysfunction, including:


Injuries to the scrotum, penis, or groin

Injuries to the scrotum, penis, or groin can cause erectile dysfunction. The scrotum is the skin sac that holds the testicles and epididymis (the tube that carries sperm from the testes). The penis is the male sex organ where urine and semen pass through during urination and ejaculation. The groin is the area between a man’s legs where his genitals (penis and testicles) are located.


If you injure your groin, it may affect blood flow to your penis and cause erectile dysfunction. This can happen if there is an injury to the tissues surrounding your pelvic area or if there is an injury to your back or pelvis region. This type of injury could occur from something as simple as tripping over an obstacle on a hiking trail or from playing sports such as football or basketball.


Anterior urethral stricture (when the urethra is narrowed)

Anterior urethral stricture is a condition that occurs when your urethra is narrowed. It can be caused by a number of things, including:

  • Infection
  • Scarring from previous surgery
  • Aging and wear and tear
  • Genetics


Radical prostatectomy (surgery to remove part of the prostate gland)

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem that affects many men. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, injury to the pelvic area, stress, depression and anxiety. One type of erectile dysfunction that is less well known but may affect up to one-third of men is called retrograde ejaculation.

Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen enters the bladder instead of being ejected from the urethra during orgasm. This type of ejaculation can result in sperm getting mixed with urine and causing discomfort or pain upon urination.

Retrograde ejaculation is often associated with prostate surgery, but it can also occur after other procedures such as cystoscopy (inserting a camera into the bladder), transurethral resection of the prostate (removal of cancerous tissue from the prostate), urological procedures involving incontinence treatment or bladder control issues and radiation therapy for prostate cancer.


Neurological disorders (problems with nerves that control erections)

A neurological disorder is an illness that affects the functioning of your nervous system. Examples of neurological disorders include stroke, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, and spinal cord injury.

Neurological disorders can cause erectile dysfunction by damaging or destroying the nerves or blood vessels that are needed for an erection to occur.

The physical causes of erectile dysfunction include neurological disorders (problems with nerves that control erections), vascular conditions (such as atherosclerosis or high blood pressure), hormonal imbalances, and medication side effects.

Neurological disorders that can cause ED include:

  • Nerve damage from diabetes, alcoholism, and other substance abuse
  • Severe depression
  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease



Erectile dysfunction is a common condition that affects many men. It occurs when the penis cannot get hard enough to have sex. It can be caused by physical or psychological factors, or a combination of both.

The physical causes of erectile dysfunction are varied, but they can be divided into two main categories: vascular and non-vascular. Vascular ED is caused by problems with the blood vessels that supply blood to the penis, while non-vascular ED results from a lack of blood flow and/or nerve damage.

Vascular ED is often caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, or heart disease. Non-vascular causes include psychological factors such as stress or depression; hormonal issues like low testosterone levels; and lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise or poor diet.

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