Male Erection Problems

(Male Erection Problems medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)

9 Major Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction In Men

Let’s be honest: no man likes to talk about it. While it may not be a fun topic to discuss, male erection problems (or ED) is an issue that no man can afford to ignore.

Occasional difficulty is one thing, but regularly struggling to get/maintain an erection is something that needs to be addressed.

While you may think it’s just an inevitable part of getting older, most of the causes of ED are treatable…if you’re willing to put in some effort.

So, rather than hoping that the problem goes away on its own (or worse, just letting your sex life fall apart), it’s time to educate yourself about your situation.

Knowledge is power, right?

With that in mind, here are 9 common causes of erectile dysfunction.

1: Male Erection Problems & Low Sex Hormones

When people think about ED, one of the first things that comes to mind is low testosterone.

And while testosterone does have an impact on erections, they depend on a lot more than just your testosterone levels. In fact, some men with low-t don’t deal with ED at all.

How is this possible?

Well, the connection between testosterone and erections is a complicated one and scientists are still trying to figure out the correlation between the two.

That being said, we know there are a few ways that low-t can cause erectile dysfunction, which are often driven by other conditions that men with low testosterone frequently have….like type 2 diabetes, obesity or metabolic syndrome…

2: Metabolic Syndrome & Erectile Dysfunction


Now, this one sounds intense, but it’s really just medical jargon for “a variety of conditions”.

According to the Mayo Clinic, metabolic syndrome (or MS) is usually a combination of “increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels”.

Before you start to freak out, it’s important to realize that suffering from one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have MS.

In fact, if you only have one of these conditions, you’re in luck!

With a few changes to your lifestyle (getting active, eating healthy foods and losing weight), you can solve your metabolic syndrome problems.

As a matter of fact, these lifestyle changes are actually more effective than drugs like Metformin, which are often prescribed to treat this condition.

Now, if you’re suffering from more than one of these symptoms, it’s worth noting that the relationship between metabolic syndrome and ED is striking.

According to a 2004 study in the Asian Journal of Andrology, about 74% of men who had MS also suffered from ED.

3: Low Nitric Oxide Levels & Male Erection Problems

When it comes to maintaining an erection, there’s one thing every man needs: nitric oxide. Why? Because you need nitric oxide to dilate your blood vessels, otherwise you will never get an erection.

Let’s talk about this….

Nitric oxide is a gas made by a layer of cells that lines blood vessels called the endothelium.

Now, when you treat your body right, by staying active, keeping your body weight down and eating the right kinds of foods, your endothelium will release plenty of nitric oxide.

Unfortunately, if you’re dealing with health issues like high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes, there are studies that show that your endothelium will release less nitric oxide, which will affect blood flow and reduce your ability to achieve an erection.

You’re probably starting to notice a pattern here. Erectile dysfunction is often a byproduct of other health issues…and to make matters worse, the longer you suffer from these conditions, the worse your ED will actually get.

4: Fear Of Losing An Erection


Performance anxiety is no joke. While it happens to everyone occasionally, dealing with chronic performance anxiety can wreak havoc on your sex life.

What starts off as a minor problem can easily turn into something much worse.

The first time it happens, being unable to get a full erection or losing an erection during sex feels like a cruel joke. Everyone knows it happens, but no one ever thinks it’ll happen to them!

But if you’re experiencing performance anxiety constantly, those feelings of self-doubt and embarrassment may bubble up every time you’re about to have sex.

By worrying about your erection, you’re essentially creating a vicious circle where worrying leads to more performance issues…

And those performance issues lead to more worry, which leads to more performance issues…you get the idea.

Fortunately for you, the solution here can be pretty simple: Take your focus off achieving an erection and focus on the sexual engagement process instead.

You can even go into the hookup with the idea that you’re going to bring her to climax without penetration, which will drastically take the pressure off of you.

Of course, if you achieve an erection during this process, this plan can always change.

Just make sure to discuss this situation with your partner. Help her understand what’s happening so she’ll take the pressure off you to perform.

The beautiful thing about communication is that it does more than just ease her mind.

Once you address the issue and feel comfortable discussing it with your woman, you’ll find it much easier to relax before sex (a critical aspect of getting over performance anxiety and achieving an erection).

5: Stiff Arteries – Poor Blood Flow & EDarteries-erectile-dysfunction

We now arrive at a common but often overlooked cause of erectile dysfunction: the hardening of the arteries. 

According to research, erectile dysfunction could be an early sign of cardiovascular disease precisely because of the nuanced relationship between the two systems. 

Getting the proper diagnosis and treatment could lengthen your life and help you overcome ED.

Researchers largely agree that erectile dysfunction due to cardiovascular issues caused by atherosclerosis (plaque build-up inside the arteries) is more common than previously thought. 

Most experts now believe that the problem’s origin is the endothelium––a thin membrane that coats the inside of the heart and blood vessels.

The endothelium releases chemicals allowing blood to flow to your penis when aroused. 

Unfortunately, certain health issues can damage the thin membrane: high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, etc. 

Damage to the lining means the endothelium can’t function correctly, leading to reduced blood flow to the heart and all parts of the body, including the penis.

The best way to overcome the adverse effects of stiff arteries is to take control of your health. If you’re a smoker, now’s the time to quit. Use vitamins that improve cardiovascular health.

If you’ve been eating poorly, start paying more attention to your diet. If you don’t exercise often or at all, make an effort to become active.

It’s worth noting that ED doesn’t necessarily mean a person has an underlying cardiovascular problem. 

Still, men with no apparent cause of erectile dysfunction or symptoms related to heart issues should visit a cardiologist and get examined.

6: Male Erection Problems & Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep might not seem like a potential cause of male erection problems, especially if it happens occasionally. 

What’s the worst that could happen? You feel a bit sleepy, and maybe your productivity dips slightly.

Unfortunately, the above sounds good but doesn’t reflect the true impact of sleep deprivation. 

Not getting enough sleep can wreak havoc on your health, well-being, and ability to achieve and maintain solid erections.

The first reason why sleep is crucial for erectile health has to do with testosterone––the primary sex hormone in men.

Research shows that sleep deprivation leads to a testosterone drop in a dose-dependent manner.

For example, in one paper, researchers noted that men who slept for four hours per night had much lower testosterone levels than men sleeping eight or more hours.

Low testosterone is terrible news for any man because the hormone is crucial for all aspects of sexual health: desire, arousal, erectile health, motivation, confidence, and a lot more.

Men with lower testosterone levels show a loss of sexual desire, a lack of motivation to pursue a partner, and an inability to maintain an erection, even when aroused.

Further, sleep deprivation can lead to excessive fatigue and brain fog. Neither of these effects translates to strong erections and a good time in the bedroom.

One of the first things you should do if you’re suffering from low libido and erectile problems is to repay your sleep debt: the cumulative effect of insufficient sleep.

one paper, researchers noted that men who slept for four hours per night had much lower testosterone levels than sleeping eight or more hours.

Low is terrible news any man because the hormone crucial all aspects of sexual health: desire, arousal, erectile health, motivation, confidence, and a lot more.

Men with show loss lack motivation to pursue partner, an inability maintain erection, even when aroused.

Further, sleep deprivation can lead excessive fatigue brain fog. Neither these effects translates into strong erections good time in bedroom.

One first things you should do if you’re suffering from low libido problems repay your debt: cumulative effect insufficient sleep.You’ll likely feel more energized, productive, motivated, and confident.

Good habits for better sleep include:

  • Doing relaxing activities before bed (shower, stretch, meditate, read a book, journal, etc.)
  • Avoid caffeine within six to eight hours of going to bed
  • Skip the nightcap and go to bed without drinking any liquids

7: Excessive Chemical Exposure


Did you know that US commerce uses over 90,000 chemicals, and most are barely regulated? That doesn’t sound right, but it’s true. Here’s something even more frightening:

Over 13,000 substances with harmful effects on the testicles are used to make cosmetic products you put on your body daily.

The unfortunate reality is that chemicals are everywhere these days: from the foods we eat and the plastic bottles we use to the shampoo we put in our hair.

Some chemicals don’t pose a threat to our health and well-being. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. 

One example is bisphenol-A (BPA)––a compound used to manufacture various plastic products. 

Research recognizes BPA as a potentially disruptive compound for the endocrine system.

one paper, researchers noted that men who slept for four hours per night had much lower testosterone levels than sleeping eight or more hours.

Low is terrible news any man because the hormone crucial all aspects of sexual health: desire, arousal, erectile health, motivation, confidence, and a lot more.

Men with show loss lack motivation to pursue partner, an inability maintain erection, even when aroused.

Further, sleep deprivation can lead excessive fatigue brain fog. Neither these effects translates into strong erections good time in bedroom.

One first things you should do if you’re suffering from low libido problems repay your debt: cumulative effect insufficient sleep.In one paper from 2010, the author goes over a study that examines the effects of BPA exposure on male sexual function. 

The study included 164 men exposed to BPA at the workplace and 386 men not exposed to the compound. 

According to the findings, men exposed to the compound were much more likely to experience loss of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and reduced sexual satisfaction.

The effects appear to be dose-dependent, with greater BPA exposures leading to a higher risk of sexual issues. 

Further, men experienced signs of sexual dysfunction after being exposed for a year or less.

Unfortunately, throwing out your food containers won’t limit your exposure completely. The cosmetic products you use daily can also contribute to testosterone suppression and estrogen elevation.

Propylene glycol is one compound you should avoid. The chemical is used in many cosmetics thanks to its ability to promote moisture retention in the skin and hair. 

Sadly, this agent has a negative impact on sperm quality and motility.

Parabens are another class of compounds with a potentially disastrous impact on reproductive health in men. 

These chemicals are often used as preservatives in cosmetics, certain foods, and pharmaceutics. Some of their side effects include:

A good way to avoid these potentially harmful effects (and stay clean) is to buy natural and unscented cosmetic products made of natural mineral salts, olive oil, shea butter, etc.

8: Poor Thyroid Function & Male Erection Problems

The thyroid gland is a small organ shaped like a butterfly. It sits in the middle of your neck and produces two crucial hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). 

Most people don’t even know about these two hormones, but they play a pivotal role in many bodily processes.

Thyroid hormones impact your metabolism (how quickly or slowly your body turns over energy), digestive system, brain health, cardiovascular system, and much more. 

Interestingly, these hormones also play a role in sexual health and erectile function. Issues can arise when the thyroid gland produces too much or too little of the two hormones.

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland produces too little T3 and T4. 

In contrast, hyperthyroidism is when an overactive thyroid gland produces too much of the two hormones.

According to various sources, both conditions can lead to numerous health issues and symptoms that get in the way of a healthy sex drive and the ability to maintain erections.

Most notably, an under- or overactive thyroid gland can lead to excessive fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, and similar. 

The result would be an inability to get aroused and a low interest in sexual activities.

One cause of premature ejaculation (when a man ejaculates too quickly) could be hyperthyroidism. 

In contrast, struggling to ejaculate, even when sufficiently aroused, could hint at hypothyroidism.

Thyroid health is also linked to erections through testosterone. Some sources suggest that thyroid issues could hinder the function of hormones related to testosterone production.

Of course, you shouldn’t take the above as definitive proof of thyroid issues. Erectile dysfunction can occur for various reasons and is often the result of several things.

 Aside from potentially impaired erectile health, thyroid problems can lead to:

  • Excessive fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Brain fog and an inability to focus
  • Poor work and school productivity
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Feeling depressed
  • Thinning hair

9: Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles


The pelvic floor muscles are located between the tailbone and pubic bone (one of the three primary bones that make up the pelvis). 

Most men don’t even know about these muscles, but a weakness in the area can result in impaired sexual ability and erectile dysfunction.

In contrast, an overactive pelvic floor musculature could promote tightness in the area and contribute to ED. 

Tight muscles can compress the artery that supplies blood to the penis, reducing blood flow and making it more challenging to get and maintain an erection.

The good news is that, like any other muscle in your body, you can strengthen your pelvic floor through repetition. 

Doing so can improve erectile health and promote greater sexual satisfaction.

Strengthening the pelvic floor musculature appears to be a reliable tactic against ED. In one study from 2004, researchers put together a group of 55 men with erectile dysfunction. 

The folks behind the study split the participants into two groups:

  • Group 1 began doing pelvic floor exercises and was given suggestions for improving their lifestyle
  • Group 2 was also advised on leading healthier lives but did not do any pelvic floor exercises

Erectile health and several other metrics were measured at the start, three months in, and at the 6-month mark. 

Three months into the study, group 1 saw significant improvements in erectile health, and the folks continued to see progress for the duration of the experiment.

A more recent study also examined the relationship between pelvic floor strength and erectile health. 

Researchers included 247 eligible men and found that those with erectile issues were likelier to have weaker pelvic floor muscles.

A straightforward way to start strengthening your pelvic floor and hopefully experience improvements in erectile health is to start doing some kegel exercises. Here is one way to start:

Step 1: Empty your bladder.

Step 2: Sit, stand or lie down.

Step 3: Tighten your pelvic floor muscles (like you would when stopping urine flow)

Step 4: Hold for several seconds and release.

Step 5: Perform up to 20-25 reps in one go and take a breath. Repeat 2-3 times daily.

Male Erection Problems – Conclusion:

If you’re like most men who’ve dealt with ED, you’ve probably felt a bit emasculated.

While drugs and pills might seem like a tempting place to start, most of these problems can be corrected (and prevented) by fixing the issues with your health.

What may seem like a curse is actually more of a call-to-action, when you stop and think about it. If you’re starting to develop the symptoms of ED, your best bet is to be proactive.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here; just make minor positive changes in your life and slowly but surely, you’ll see the results you want.

In other words, when you make your health a priority, everything else will fall into place.

About the Author Mark

Article edited by Mark Wilson. Mark currently owns 5 sites in the men's sexual health niche and has published more than 5,000 articles and blog posts on dozens of websites all over the world wide web.

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