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Erectile Dysfunction: A Look at the Most Common Causes

Erectile dysfunctions are more common than most men believe, and while they can always leave someone in an embarrassing position at an awkward time, the reasons can be benign as well. Unfortunately, not every case of unexpected ED is harmless or temporary. As we look through the common reasons behind erectile dysfunctions, it will uncover both relatively harmless, as well as a few potentially fatal conditions that can be responsible for impotence in men.

Diseases of the Heart and/Arteries

The primary action behind impotence can be identified as a lack of blood supply to the penis, which is universal in nature. The causes that can be responsible for the lack of sufficient blood supply are plenty, but the action is always the same, irrespective of the reason. This is directly related to conditions of the heart and the arteries, as it is the heart that pumps blood through arteries and sends them to the extremities via veins and blood vessels.

As a result, any heart condition or vascular condition that can constrict or slow down the flow of blood could at times be responsible for impotence. Common cardiac and arterial health issues that have been proven to cause erectile dysfunction are as follows:

  • Atherosclerosis, which hardens arteries and blood vessels, increasing cardiac stress and constricting regular blood flow
  • Hypertension or increased blood pressure is often considered to be a symptom of an underlying vascular/heart condition, and it’s frequently associated with ED
  • High LDL cholesterol, leading to arterial plaque and blood flow constriction

Low Testosterone

As we age, we lose muscle mass and sexual potency, but the rate of loss is not equal or even similar in all men. Aside from genetics, there are also additional factors that contribute to lowered testosterone in men as young as 30. To know whether or not lowered testosterone levels are responsible for your ED, check the low T symptoms identified by Manual. If you can relate to the symptoms, then rest assured that low T is not just one of the most common causes of impotence, but it is also very treatable with appropriate steps and meds.

Consult with experts to know what sildenafil can do for you and how it should be administered to help you overcome your ED, alongside all the other associated symptoms. Testosterone is the prime male hormone, and in order for a man’s body and mind to function in the way that it should, there needs to be a sufficient natural production of it. In case that cannot be achieved, external testosterone therapy might be essential for preventing impotence, hair fall, depression and several other similar symptoms.


Diabetes is a direct and acute cause for erectile dysfunction and that applies to men with both Type I and Type II diabetes. However, men suffering from Type II diabetes experience ED far more often than men with Type I diabetes. Potentially, the damage can be permanent for men with diabetes if they do not act in time to control the disease itself.

Unlike most of the other causes mentioned so far, diabetic men who did not or could not treat their condition from an early stage are likely to experience permanent nerve and blood vessel damage, leading to perpetual impotence. On the other hand, if their blood sugar is kept under control from an early stage with changes in lifestyle and medication, it is possible for men with diabetes to lead a healthy and sexually satisfying life. If you are experiencing frequent episodes of ED, it is probably a good idea to get checked for diabetes. The urgency of the situation will gain more severity in case the patient also has one or more diabetic parent/parents.


Depression is often defined as a purely psychological cause for erectile dysfunction, but it is medically incorrect to use the classification universally. Temporary depression from a genuine cause such as the death of a close family member is mostly psychological in nature. In most cases, men get over temporary and acute depression on their own, or perhaps just by talking about the cause with someone close, or even a professional. However, the same cannot be said about clinical depression, where the brain becomes incapable of producing sufficient levels of dopamine and serotonin.

Unfortunately for those suffering from clinical depression, antidepressants are often found to be directly responsible for causing impotence in men. Since this is a unique scenario where both the disease and the cure can individually and simultaneously cause erectile dysfunctions, it’s a very tricky situation to deal with. If clinical depression is indeed affecting you and you have been prescribed antidepressants for managing the chemical imbalance, countering the entire scenario would require a combined effort from you, your psychiatrist and your partner. The idea should be to find alternatives to SSRIs and use break periods to help lessen the pharmaceutical and psychophysical causes of impotence as best as possible.


There are two different types of stress, although they often fuel each other, making it difficult to separate one from the other. Physical stress is a result of strenuous physical activities and mental stress is a result of worry, mental trauma, anxiety, depression and the like. As mentioned, one can often be a reason for bringing about the other, but they need not always be mutually inclusive either. Both physical and mental stress is directly linked to erectile dysfunctions though.

If the body is worked to a point of extreme tiredness, it simply may not have enough physical and/or mental energy to power and hold an erection. On the other hand, mental stress creates a distraction for the brain in a negative manner, which keeps it from acting in the way that it should in presence of sexual stimuli. ED caused by physical stress can be easily recovered from with a proper diet and restful sleep, unless it has been going on for a significant while at a stretch.

When the body is being stressed continuously without the sufficient rest and nutrition it needs, that will lead to mental stress accumulation as well. When left unaddressed for a long enough period, the impotence from such cases can take a long time to heal, if at all possible. Mental stress has the same effect and it can disrupt sleep, which is absolutely crucial for the body to recover and be productive during sexual activities. In fact, both physical and mental stress can lead to low testosterone levels, which would then require professional help, as mentioned previously.

Only a doctor with the necessary expertise (endocrinologist or urologist) and experience can help patients uncover the real reason/reasons behind their ED episodes. Even if you believe that you are aware of the cause and it isn’t anything to worry about too much, get yourself checked. On the other hand, if it happens only in very rare circumstances, chances are that you have nothing to worry about. Keep an eye on the frequency though, and consult a doctor immediately if the ED episodes seem to be increasing in their occurrence. Not only is that necessary to maintain healthy conjugal relationships, but medical investigations may also reveal one of the more serious causes that we already discussed.