Font Size
A
A
A
2
...

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction (cont.)

Physical (Organic) Causes

Physical causes for erectile dysfunction are much more common than psychological causes. In determining a physical (or organic) cause, your doctor will first rule out certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart and vascular disease, low male hormone level, prostate cancer, and diabetes, which are associated with erectile dysfunction. In addition to these conditions, certain systemic and respiratory diseases are known to result in erectile dysfunction:

Often, one can restore sexual health by treating a condition such as high blood pressure with diet and/or exercise or by controlling diabetes or other chronic diseases. Nutritional states, including malnutrition and zinc deficiency, may be associated with erectile dysfunction and can also be treated with diet.

Almost any disease can affect erectile function by altering the nervous, vascular, or hormonal systems. Various diseases may produce changes in the smooth muscle tissue of the penis or influence mood and behavior.

  • Diseases that affect the nervous system and are commonly associated with erectile dysfunction include:
  • Vascular diseases account for nearly half of all cases of erectile dysfunction in men older than 50 years.
    • Vascular disease includes atherosclerosis (fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries, also called hardening of the arteries), a history of heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease (problems with blood circulation), and high blood pressure.
    • Prolonged tobacco use (smoking) is considered an important risk factor for erectile dysfunction because it is associated with poor circulation and its impact on cavernosal function.
    • Blood diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and leukemias, are also associated with erectile dysfunction.
  • An imbalance in your hormones, such as testosterone, prolactin, or thyroid, can cause erectile dysfunction. The following hormonal (or endocrine) conditions are commonly associated with erectile dysfunction:
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2014
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction
Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction Men are frequently reluctant to discuss their sexual problems, particularly erectile dysfunction or ED, and often need to be specifically asked. You can assist ...learn more >>
Erectile Dysfunction FAQs
Erectile Dysfunction FAQs Erectile dysfunction (or ED), also called male impotence, describes a man's inability to achieve and maintain an erection of his penis sufficient for mutually s...learn more >>
Erectile Dysfunction
Impotence/Erectile Dysfunction Erectile dysfunction (ED) or male impotence is defined as the inability of a man to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for mutually satisfactory interc...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Causes of Erectile Dysfunction:

Erectile Dysfunction - Causes

Please describe the cause of your ED.



NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Erectile Dysfuncton »

Sexual health and function are important determinants of quality of life.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary