What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
A number of factors can increase your risk of ED. Attaining an erection involves the brain, hormones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. A problem with any of these components can block the normal functioning of the penis.
Some common causes of ED include:
- heart disease
- multiple sclerosis
- tobacco use
- Parkinson’s disease
- enlarged prostate gland
One study found that persistent alcohol use induced ED as well. Seventy-two percent of men diagnosed with alcohol dependence syndrome were diagnosed with sexual dysfunction. This includes premature ejaculation and ED.
Why You Need to See Your Doctor
It’s important to check with your doctor because ED may be a sign of additional health problems. For example, if you have heart disease, you can take a number of steps that will likely improve both your heart health and your ED. This includes lowering your cholesterol, reducing your weight, or taking medications to unclog your blood vessels.
Your doctor will likely prescribe some common treatments if other health issues aren’t found to be the cause of your ED. However, you may also choose natural options.
Common Treatments for ED: Medications
Standard treatments for ED include lifestyle changes, such as:
- losing weight
- stopping smoking
- curbing alcohol intake
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Medications like Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra increase blood flow to the penis. But they can also cause side effects, including:
- nasal congestion
- upset stomach
- vision changes
- facial flushing
Men who have experienced a stroke or have uncontrolled diabetes or low blood pressure should not take ED medications.
Testosterone replacement and erection-inducing injections are also available. Side effects may include:
- breast enlargement
- increased urination
- aching in the penis
- gum or mouth irritation