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By Nick Gold Erectile dysfunction (also known more commonly as impotence or sexual dysfunction) is the inability to maintain a sufficiently rigid erection for a satisfying sexual experience. According to the Global Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, erectile dysfunction affects approximately 5-28% of men aged 40-80 years. The study was done on adults from 29 different countries. This health issue has been clearly defined back in 1992, but it has been observed and recorded for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians had papyrus drawings of sexual positions as well as remedies and cures for afflictions known as “weakness of the male member”. Sexual dysfunction can be diagnosed by questionnaires or lab testing and there are numerous ways of managing and improving its symptoms.
Erectile Dysfunction causesThis type of health problem can have multiple causes and the most common ones are:
- Pharmacologic – caused by different types of medications such as antidepressants, analgesic narcotics, antiulcers, antihypertensives, etc. There are more than 200 medications which have been associated with sexual dysfunction and some of them decrease the testosterone levels which in turn lower erection rigidity, sex drive, etc.
- Endocrinologic – this refers to testosterone deficiency and hypogonadism. Testosterone replacement therapy could help in this case, but it might not be sufficient to achieve hard erections, and it must be combined with other treatment options. Diabetes is a disease which might be linked to ED because it causes damage to the microvasculature of the body as well as the nervous system.
- Neurogenic – caused by aging or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Neurogenic causes refer to damages to the nervous system and can include strokes, injuries to spinal cord, etc. These health problems can severely affect erection quality regardless of age.
- Vasculogenic – affections such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels can also cause erectile dysfunction. Men with blood pressure higher than 130/85, a body mass index over 30 as well as triglycerides over 150 mg/dL are at risk of developing ED at some point in the future.
- Psychogenic – this refers to improper stress management, feelings of guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, lack of self-confidence, internal sexual conflict, etc. Men who have very stressful lives are more likely to have weak erections as well as poor libido.