What Causes Erectile Dysfunction

Difficulty to get an erection occasionally can be considered normal as there can be many reasons behind the erection failure. But if it is happening often, there must be some underlying cause that needs to be addressed. The risk factors for erectile dysfunction can be associated with old age and chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, etc.

The process of sexual arousal is controlled by the brain, emotions, hormones, blood vessels, nerves, and muscles. If any of these is not functioning properly, your sexual function might get impacted as a result. Similarly, some mental health issues can also affect your erection function and lead to erectile dysfunction.


You need to consult your primary healthcare provider or a urologist that can certainly help you alleviate the symptoms of erectile dysfunction by suggesting a proper treatment for an underlying condition contributing to erection problems. Some simple lifestyle changes can be beneficial for improving your sex life and enhancing your performance. Small habits such as exercising regularly and following a healthy diet can help you restore your sexual function.

Physiological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction  

Persistent problems with erection function can be a sure sign of some underlying serious medical illness. Several physiological, as well as psychological factors, or sometimes a combination of both, can be majorly responsible for repeated erection failures. Some physiological factors include:


Erectile dysfunction issues in obese men are more frequent than in the general population. Obesity is a chronic condition that is characteristic of an excessive amount of fat deposition in various parts of the body. The risk increases with an increase in body mass index (BMI). It is the biggest contributor to erectile dysfunction. It leads to hormonal imbalances, endothelial dysfunction, and physical inactivity.

Extreme weight gain causes the access deposition of fats or blockages formation in the passages of the blood vessels and is responsible for clogging the vascular system. It hinders blood circulation to the organs of the body. The only solution to alleviate the symptoms of erectile dysfunction is weight loss.

High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar or diabetes is a life-long condition that causes impairments in the function of nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. Erectile dysfunction results due to the damaging impact of the disease on the vascular system. To attain an erection, a healthy vascular system is a necessity to ensure effective blood circulation throughout the heart, tissues, and organs in the body.

Diabetes can have damaging effects on the nerves and penile blood vessels that ensure optimal erection function. In this condition, an individual might not be able to attain or maintain an erect penile despite having a healthy sex drive and sound hormonal regulation.

Cardiovascular Disorders

Heart disease is one of the major contributors and it is an independent cause of erectile dysfunction. A frequent problem in getting an erection can be a sign of underlying heart disease. It could be an indication of current or future heart-related issues.

Vascular diseases like Atherosclerosis, which causes the hardening of the arteries, can have an extremely damaging impact on the blood vessels throughout the body. In addition, several other vascular diseases like high cholesterol and high blood pressure are equally devastating. These chronic illnesses usually account for 70% of physiological-related causes of erectile dysfunction and restrict the flow of blood to the heart, the brain, to the reproductive organs.

Kidney and Liver Dysfunction

Impotence is highly prevalent in patients diagnosed with kidney diseases. Kidney-related ailments cause chemical changes in the body that affect hormones, circulation, nerve function, and energy levels, which can have a damaging impact on sexual function. Also, the drugs used to treat these ailments potentiates the risk of Erectile dysfunction.

In addition, impaired liver function is also significantly associated with erectile dysfunction. Comorbidities such as arterial hypertension and diabetes play a key role in the development of liver disease.

Psychological Contributors to Erectile Dysfunction

Psychological factors majorly impact the ability to attain and sustain erections by interfering the normal sexual function. During arousal, the brain sends signals to the penile to release nitric oxide in the walls of the penile blood vessels which allows extra blood flow for promoting an erection. However, psychological problems affect the activities of both the central nervous system as well as the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Some psychological factors include:


Stress interrupts your brain’s natural function of sending signals to the penile nerves to cause vasodilation allowing sufficient blood flow throughout the penile blood vessels for promoting an erection. Erection failure due to stress can generate more such events of erection failures in the future which can contribute to even more stress.


Being in a stressful situation for a longer period leads to anxiety. Due to anxiety, certain brain chemicals get released that hamper the erection function and prevent an erection, or it can make it harder to even get an erection.

During sexual activity, many men experience performance anxiety which interferes with their physiological function and prevents sexual response. Anxiety can cause more such events near future.

Clinical Depression

The human body cannot operate without neurotransmitters which are the chemical messengers present in the brain. Their primary function is to carry signals from one nerve cell to the next target cell. When the brain senses sexual arousal, your body responds to it physiologically, by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs. In an individual diagnosed with depression, these chemicals in the brain are imbalanced. Depression can trigger feelings of hopelessness in an individual and they might as well experience trouble having an orgasm. They may also suffer from esteem issues. Consequently, depression leads to the absence of sexual desire and is the biggest libido killer.

Occasional problems of erectile dysfunction can be a result of excessive smoking, incessant drinking, injuries, hormonal imbalances (change in testosterone levels), and medicinal side effects. Erectile dysfunction due to these factors can be reversed and completely cured by managing these habits or conditions.

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