United Knowledge, Expert Care

What causes Erectile Dysfunction?

An erection involves a precise sequence of events and therefore ED can occur when any of these events are disrupted. The sequence includes nerve impulses in the brain, spinal column and area around the penis and response in muscles, fibrous tissue, veins and arteries in and near the corpora cavernosa.

One in two men is likely to suffer erection difficulties at some point in their lives. As ageing increases the possibility of experiencing ED, many older men accept the condition as a ‘normal’ part of the ageing process without realising it can be treated effectively and seeking advice about treatment.

Physical causes:

  • Vascular disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hormone abnormalities such as hyperprolactinaemia
  • Certain prescribed drugs
  • Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
  • Diseases affecting the erectile tissue of the penis
  • Neurological diseases
  • Severe chronic diseases such as kidney and liver failure
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • Surgery (especially radical prostate and bladder surgery)
  • Injury to the penis, spinal cord, pelvis, prostate or bladder
  • Heavy smoking
  • Being overweight

Drug induced causes:

  • Alcohol
  • Antihypertensives (medication for high blood pressure) e.g. diuretics, beta blockers, methyldopa
  • Cimetidine
  • Marijuana, heroin, methadone
  • Major tranquillisers
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Digoxin
  • Glucocorticosteroids
  • Oestrogen, anti-androgens

Psychological causes of Erectile Dysfunction:
A sudden onset of ED in men who can normally achieve an erection may indicate there is an underlying psychological problem at the root of their ED. Common psychological causes can include:

  • Stress and anxiety from work or home
  • Relationship conflicts and dissatisfaction
  • Depression and other psychiatric conditions and their medications
  • Sexual boredom or unresolved sexual orientation
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