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Understanding the Causes of ED

Erectile Dysfunction

Before the arrival of Viagra, the majority of men were not even aware of the medical condition called erectile dysfunction. Almost all men will have the experience of impotence or the inability to achieve an erection that is hard enough to engage in penetrative sex. Some men react to the first signs of impotence by visiting their doctor for a script to buy Viagra. In human biology, the male body is designed to have sex up to the age of 80 and beyond. Therefore, it is not normal for males half that age to be diagnosed with ED. This clearly shows that either their physical or psychological wellbeing is not in balance.

Nerves and Blood Flow

To reach the state of full arousal necessary for an erection, the brain has to be stimulated enough to send signals to the penis that allow for an erection to grow. The normal erectile function of the penis can be compromised if there are vascular causes affecting the flow of blood to the penis or neurological reasons that interfere with the nerve pathways. The sudden onset of ED can also be the first signs of a disease called atherosclerosis, which is the clogging or narrowing of the arteries that transport blood to the penis. Neuropathy is a neurological condition where erectile dysfunction is caused by nerve damage due to surgical procedures or injury.

Poor Lifestyle

The most common cause of atherosclerosis is obesity and poor diet, so the condition is preventable with improved health and nutrition. Atherosclerosis causes the walls of the arteries in the body thicken, becoming narrow and preventing blood from flowing normally. Even the smallest narrowing of the arteries in the penis can prevent the blood flow that enables the penis to become fully erect. Another common condition which often results in damage to arteries in the vascular system is high blood pressure, which impairs the flow of blood required to achieve and sustain an erection.

Early Indicator

One of the reasons that erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra remain prescription only, is because impotence can be an early indicator of a more serious underlying condition. In order to diagnose the cause, it is important to see your doctor - especially if you have persistent problems achieving an erection.


Psychological issues account for only about 10% of ED in men. These can include fear of intimacy, guilt, depression and anxiety. Temporary performance anxiety however is common for younger men, usually due to a lack of experience rather than the inability of get an erection. In many cases where ED is diagnosed as a physical condition, doctors will prescribe Viagra as an effective treatment.

About the Author

has over 20 years experience as a sexual health medical practitioner and has specific expertise in male sexual dysfunction.