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 5 common causes of erectile dysfunction.
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…
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.
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.
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).
Finally, we have the most common cause of erectile dysfunction: hardening of the arteries. Basically, the endothelium releases chemicals that allows blood to flow to your penis while you’re aroused.
Unfortunately, the endothelium can be damaged by certain health issues (like high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol). Damaged lining means that getting and maintaining a solid erection is no easy task.
The best way for you to overcome the effects of stiff arteries is by taking control of your health. If you’re a smoker, now’s the time to quit. If you’ve been eating poorly, start paying more attention to your diet. If you don’t exercise often, make an effort to stay active.
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.
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.