What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

An erection happens when blood rushes to the penis. But when arteries are clogged by atherosclerosis, the reduced blood flow results in impotence.

There are physical and psychologist issues that attribute to erectile dysfunction. In many cases erectile is caused by physical issues:

  • Heart disease
  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Certain prescription medications
  • Tobacco use
  • Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
  • Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
  • Sleep disorders
  • Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
  • Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Kidney Disease

The brain is an important role in experience of physical events that cause an erection, starting with feelings of sexual excitement. There are psychological issues that interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Relationship problems due to stress

Does Cycling cause Erectile Dysfunction

If you sit on your bike for long periods of time, the seat puts pressure on your perineum, an area between your anus and penis. The perineum is filled with arteries and nerves that supply oxygen-rich blood and sensation to your penis.

For a man to have an erection, nerves signals blood vessels to relax and increase blood flow through the arteries into the penis. If there are any problems with the nerves, blood vessels this may result in erectile dysfunction.

Over the last few decades, researchers have discovered that some male cyclists develop damage to the pudendal nerve, the main nerve in the perineum, and the pudendal artery, which sends blood to the penis.

Does Taking Certain Medications Affect Erections?

Different medications affect people differently.  One person may experience side effects such as a decrease in sexual performance while another person will not experience this.

Common types of drugs that may lead to sexual dysfunctions include:

How Erections Change as We Age?

There is no specific age at which the penis stops working and erections are far and few between. Although erectile dysfunction is common, not every man will experience this issue.

Men as young as 40 may experience some type of erectile dysfunction, however, between the ages of 60 and 80 years old, the inability to function becomes more common.

Although erectile dysfunction frequency may increase with age, it is treatable regardless of your age.

  • Hair Loss
  • Reduced bone mass
  • Reduction in testicle size
  • Reduction of semen
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Fatigue and mood changes

The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to make healthy lifestyle choices and to manage any existing health conditions. Recommended changes:

  • Work with your doctor to manage diabetes, heart disease or other chronic health conditions
  • Schedule regular checkups and medical screening tests
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Don’t use illegal drugs
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take steps to manage and reduce stress
  • Get help for anxiety, depression or other mental health concern
  • Lose weight
  • Try to improve your relationship or communicate better with your sexual partner

Although men may experience erectile dysfunction as they age, there are other factors that directly contribute to erectile dysfunction:

  • Medical conditions, specifically diabetes or heart conditions
  • Tobacco use, which restricts blood flow to veins and arteries
  • Medical treatments, such as prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer
  • Injuries, particularly if they damage the nerves or arteries that control erections
  • Medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines and medications to treat high blood pressure, or pain
  • Psychological conditions, such as stress, anxiety or depression
  • Alcohol use – when not used moderately
  • Obesity