Erectile dysfunction (ED) happens when a man has ongoing problems getting and keeping an erection. The problem is reported by 1 in 5 men, and that number gets bigger with age.
Men can have several types of issues including poor sex drive and problems with ejaculation.
If you’re older, there’s probably a physical reason for your ED. Experts say stress, depression, low self-esteem, and performance anxiety can short-circuit the process that leads to an erection.
These factors can also make the problem worse if your ED stems from a physical problem.
The link between chronic disease and ED is most striking for diabetes. Any condition that affects the way blood flows through your body could lead to ED.
Men with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction. This includes cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), kidney disease, and multiple sclerosis. Smoking, heavy drinking, and drug use disorder can damage the blood vessels and reduce blood flow to your penis.
Impulses from the brain and genital nerves start the process.
Anything that blocks these impulses or restricts blood flow to the penis can cause ED.
Talk to your doctor if you think a prescription or over-the-counter drug may be causing erectile problems.
But never stop taking any medicine before you discuss it with your doctor.