Make no mistake about it – most men don’t enjoy talking about their sexual health. But it’s time to take erectile dysfunction (ED) off the taboo list of topics. According to the National Institutes of Health, 5 percent of 40-year-olds and 15 to 25 percent of 65-year-olds have ED.
While aging and ED can coincide, problems in the bedroom don’t have to be par for the course as you age.
ED is defined as the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse, and there are many factors that can contribute to these types of performance problems. The following are five major causes of ED:
The heart is our lifeline, pumping blood to all major parts and organs in the body – and the penis is no exception. Without proper blood flow to the penis, a man cannot achieve or sustain an erection. For those with cardiac-related conditions, such as high blood pressure, this is an unfortunate reality.
According to a Harvard Medical School report, atherosclerosis (clogged blood vessels and arteries) in regions supplying the genitalia can prevent the increase in blood flow required for intercourse. One helpful analogy is to think of the erection as a hydraulic mechanism, where blood is delivered temporarily, before ultimately being drained away.
Taking any medication comes with a certain modicum of risk, as evidenced by the laundry list of side effects listed at the end of popular drug commercials. Many medications such as beta-blockers and cancer chemotherapy medications, as well as illicit drugs (cocaine and amphetamines), can contribute to ED.
If you believe one of your medications could be the cause of trouble in the bedroom, speak with your physician who can analyze your medication regimen and modify it to mitigate the effects.
The body’s neurological system is a complex web that sends messages to the rest of the body. When the wires get crossed – so to speak – things can go awry. Erectile dysfunction is often related to nervous system issues caused by spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), or Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers are working to improve quality of life and raise awareness of the complexities of sexual function in men with neurogenic disorders.
Nerve damage is also part and parcel of diabetes – an endocrine disease and epidemic that affected 30.3 million Americans as of 2015. The health of the endocrine system is important for several reasons: it controls the reproductive system, mood, metabolism, and sexual function. A reduction in blood flow, coupled with off-kilter hormone levels, can lead to erectile trouble.
All too often, diagnoses take into account the physical but don’t pay close enough attention to the psychological factors that may be contributing to a disorder like ED. Emotional disorders, such as depression and anxiety, as well as lifestyle factors, can reduce interest in sex, detracting from one’s ability to maintain an erection.
Performance anxiety is another common cause of ED, leading to inability of getting or maintaining an erection in front of a partner. In these cases, the sheer stress of anticipating sexual activity can lead to dysfunction. Getting 20 minutes of exercise per day has been known to do wonders for alleviating stress. Speaking with a psychologist or getting sex therapy and education can also be highly beneficial.
Comprehensive Counseling in Montclair
Advanced Psychology Partners is a sex-positive and sex-affirming therapy and relationship practice, offering comprehensive care to patients looking to conquer sexual and social anxiety, sex drive changes, sexual desire discrepancy, and erectile dysfunction.
Our professionals will work with you as an individual or in a group.
The first step to solving erectile dysfunction is putting your guard down. Call (973) 743-2990 today for more information. You may also request an appointment or a complimentary Meet & Greet using our form online.