Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
To understand what causes erectile dysfunction or ED, it is important to first review how an erection occurs. For a man to have an erection, a complex process takes place within the body.
If one or more of the above physical and/or psychological processes is disrupted, erectile dysfunction can result. Erectile dysfunction describes a man's inability to achieve and maintain an erection of his penis sufficient for mutually satisfactory intercourse with his partner.
In general, the cause of erectile dysfunction is divided into 2 types. Many men will have both:
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Erection problems usually produce a significant psychological and emotional reaction in most men. This is often described as a pattern of anxiety and stress that can further interfere with normal sexual function. This "performance anxiety" needs to be recognized and addressed by your doctor.
For some men, erectile dysfunction develops with age or may be related to depression or another psychological cause, such as widower syndrome.
Certain feelings can interfere with normal sexual function, including feeling nervous about or self-conscious about sex; feeling stressed either at home or at work; or feeling troubled in your current relationship. In these cases, psychological counseling with you and your sexual partner may be successful. One episode of failure, regardless of cause, may propagate further psychological distress leading to further erectile failure.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2014
Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS
Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Martin I Resnick, MD
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Causes of Erectile Dysfunction:
Erectile Dysfunction - Causes
Please describe the cause of your ED.