Physical causes of erectile dysfunction: impotence affects a large number of men of all races. Some causes of this condition are related to psychological factors and lifestyle choices, but the most cases are related to the physical nature of each individual. It is very difficult for men who suffer from this condition to recognize this and seek treatment. In fact, of the 150 million men affected, only 10% are treated for this problem.
Physical causes of ED include:
• Cardiovascular disease can lead to the strengthening or damage of the artery that supplies blood to the penis. Therefore the amount of blood reaching the penis is not enough to achieve an erection. So impotence occurs when the nerves that control blood flow are affected. High cholesterol levels, alcohol consumption, smoking and diabetes can lead to hardening of the arteries. Heart diseases represent approximately 70% of cases of impotence.
• Diabetes affects nerves and blood flow to the penis. One of four men who suffer from ED has diabetes. If a man can keep under control his diet and blood sugar levels, impotence may improve, but also may occur permanent damage to the nerves.
• Nervous system diseases such as Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord diseases can lead to impotence. Similarly, nerve damage after surgery, radiotherapy or trauma cause difficulty or termination of erectile capacity.
• Hormonal imbalance. Imbalance in testosterone levels may occur rarely, but some problems like renal or liver insufficiency can lead to hormonal imbalances and therefore to impotence.
• Also, many drugs may cause impotence as side effect. These drugs are: diuretics, blood pressure treatments, antihistamines, psychiatric disorders medication (neuroleptics, antidepressants, and anxiolytics) and cimetidine (an ulcer drug). You should never stop taking a drug considered to be the cause of erectile dysfunction without first talking to your doctor.
• Surgery to urinary bladder (cystectomy) and rectum (perineal resection) or vascular surgery to the abdomen can cause erectile dysfunction, not only due to local effects, but also because of the severity of the disease.
• Men with injury of the urethra suffer from erectile dysfunction due to vascular-nervous system damage. Spinal cord injuries are common in traffic accidents. Depending on the spinal cord area affected, erection and ejaculation are more or less modified. If the lesion is not complete erectile capacity is more likely to preserve. Micro traumatisms at the level of perineum, such as chronic compression syndrome observed in professional cyclists, affect the nerves and therefore lead to erectile dysfunction.
• Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse (marijuana, cocaine, cannabis). Most men with erectile dysfunction were or are smokers. Smoking increases blood pressure and promotes atherosclerosis and increases the risk of venous drainage (the inability of penis veins to retain blood). Alcohol is responsible for reducing the amount of testosterone that plays an important role in the physiology of sexual desire and erection.