In the United States, approximately 30 million men regularly experience erectile dysfunction (ED): the consistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.
The condition is more common in older men, affecting 47 percent of men over 75; only around 4 percent of men in their 50s and 17 percent of men in their 60s have this problem. Fortunately, this condition is treatable.
Discovering the cause of the problem goes a long way to its treatment. Below are six reasons for ED that you might not know about.
Men with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have ED than those without the disease. The circulatory problems caused by increased sugar levels can and do affect blood vessels and nerves anywhere in the body.
2. Gum Disease
It’s not what you’d expect, until you think about it. Periodontitis is the chronic infection and inflammation of gums and is often an indicator of other health problems. A link has been shown between gum disease and heart disease, probably due to a systemic problem with blood flow due to blocked arteries. It’s all about the blood flow.
3. High Blood Pressure
This condition is the cause of a whole host of maladies, ED just one. Hypertension damages blood vessels by constantly pushing against the arteries—which, over time, affects the flow of blood throughout the body. Some of the drugs prescribed to treat hypertension can contribute to ED as well. There may be alternatives to these meds—ask your physician.
4. Medications for Prostate and Hair Loss
Studies of common prostate and male-patterned baldness drugs published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found direct correlation between taking these medications and ED. The drugs work by reducing the level of the hormone dihydrotestosterone in the blood, leading to decreased libido.
Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that:
“There is a significant relationship between cycling-induced perineal compression leading to vascular, endothelial, and neurogenic dysfunction in men and the development of ED. Research on female bicyclists is very limited but indicates the same impairment as in male bicyclists. Preventative measures including use of a properly fitted bicycle, a riding style with a suitable seat position and an appropriate bicycle seat can help prevent impairment of erectile function.”
Your mental health and state of mind affect every part of your well-being. Severe depression can lead to sexual problems, which in turn can make the sufferer more depressed. Some of the antidepressant drugs prescribed can in themselves cause sexual difficulties—up to half of all people who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) experience some kind of sexual dysfunction.
Sexual health is important to overall health. If you or someone you know is challenged with erectile dysfunction, there may be easy ways to identify and treat it—for both of you.