What kinds of Health Conditions May Cause ED ?

What is Erectile dysfunction (ED) ?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Estimates suggest that one of every 10 men will suffer from ED at some point during his lifetime. It is important to understand that in most cases, ED is a symptom of another, underlying problem. ED is not considered normal at any age, and may be associated with other problems that interfere with sexual intercourse, such as lack of desire and problems with orgasm and ejaculation.

How common is erectile dysfunction?

Approximately one in 10 adult males will suffer from ED on a long-term basis.

Many men do experience occasional failure to achieve erection, which can occur for a variety of reasons, such as drinking too much alcohol, stress, relationship problems, or from being extremely tired.

The failure to get an erection less than 20% of the time is not unusual and typically does not require treatment. However, the failure to achieve an erection more than 50% of the time generally means that there is a problem and treatment is needed.

ED does not have to be a part of getting older. While it is true that some older men may need more stimulation, they should still be able to achieve an erection and enjoy intercourse.

Erectile dysfunction or ED May be Caused by following Health Conditions [1]

An erection occurs when blood flows into the corpora cavernosa (erection bodies) and gets trapped there. If the blood has problems getting to or staying in those erection bodies, you may have erectile dysfunction.

Physical causes of erectile dysfunction

In many cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by something physical. Common causes include:

    • Heart disease
    • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
    • High cholesterol
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Certain prescription medications
    • Tobacco use
    • Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
    • Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
    • Sleep disorders
    • Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
    • Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
    • Low testosterone

Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction

The brain plays a key role in triggering the series of physical events that cause an erection, starting with feelings of sexual excitement. A number of things can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:

    • Depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions
    • Stress
    • Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns

There are many potential causes for erectile dysfunction, such as these conditions/circumstances:

  • Vascular conditions:
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Trauma:
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Pelvis injury
  • Neurologic disease:
    • Stroke
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Radiation to the pelvis for cancer
  • Endocrine:
    • Hypogonadism (low testosterone)
    • Hyperprolactinemia (high prolactin levels)
  • Pelvis surgery:
    • Radical prostatectomy (a surgical procedure for the partial or complete removal of the prostate)
    • Surgeries for rectal cancer or bladder cancer
  • Medication side effects:
    • Antidepressants
    • Antihypertensives (high blood pressure medicine)
    • Antiandrogens (testosterone blockers)
    • Antiarrhythmics (heart rhythm medicine)
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Cocaine and marijuana

What medications could cause erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common side effect of a number of prescription drugs. While these medications may treat a disease or condition, in doing so they can affect a man’s hormones, nerves or blood circulation, resulting in ED or increasing the risk of ED.

If you experience ED and think that it may be a result of the medication you are using, do not stop taking the medication. If the problem persists, contact your doctor and he or she may be able to prescribe a different medication. Common medications that may list ED as a potential side effect include:

      • Diuretics (pills that cause increase urine flow).
      • Antihypertensives (high blood pressure drugs).
      • Antihistamines.
      • Antidepressants.
      • Parkinson’s disease drugs.
      • Antiarrhythmics (drug for irregular heart action).
      • Tranquilizers.
      • Muscle relaxants.
      • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
      • Histamine H2-receptor antagonists.
      • Hormones.
      • Chemotherapy medications.
      • Prostate cancer drugs.
      • Anti-seizure medications.

Other substances or drugs that can cause or lead to ED include these recreational and frequently abused drugs:

  • Alcohol.
  • Amphetamines.
  • Barbiturates.
  • Cocaine.
  • Marijuana.
  • Methadone.
  • Nicotine.
  • Opiates.

These drugs not only affect and often suppress the central nervous system, but can also cause serious damage to the blood vessels, leading to permanent ED.

Diabetes & ED

Half of men with diabetes will experience ED within 10 years of their diagnosis. High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves that control sexual stimulation. They can also damage the blood vessels needed to provide adequate blood flow to the penis in order to have and maintain an erection.

While oral medications are a common first step for therapy, they only tend to work in about 50 percent of men with diabetes. Diabetic men are more likely to move on to other treatment options, such as the pump, penile injection therapy, and penile implants. However, the penile implant has the highest satisfaction rate of all treatment options.

ED & Heart Disease

Erectile dysfunction can be a warning sign of current or future heart disease sometimes. In fact, ED can precede coronary artery disease in almost 70 percent of cases.

When you have heart disease, or coronary artery disease (blocked blood vessels), it will affect the tiny arteries in your penis sooner. Many times, we will refer you to a cardiologist to determine if you have cardiovascular disease that is causing your ED.

Improving your heart health can help lower your risk for ED. You can start by:

  • increasing physical activity,
  • quitting tobacco products,
  • losing weight, and
  • consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Prostate Cancer & ED

Erectile dysfunction is a potential complication following prostate cancer treatments. The nerves that control an erection lie very close to the prostate and may be injured during treatment. However, some men may regain their previous level of erectile function with nerve-sparing procedures. But it may take up to a year while some men may never recover their ability to have a natural erection.

Radiation for prostate cancer can cause ED symptoms to appear gradually, usually within two to three years after treatment. If you are experiencing ED after undergoing prostate cancer treatment, you can get a healthy sex life back. We can help you choose the best treatment options for you.

What prescription drugs may cause erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common side effect of a number of prescription drugs. While these medications may treat a disease or condition, in doing so they can affect a man’s hormones, nerves or blood circulation. The result may be ED or an increase in the risk of ED.

If you have ED and think that it may be a result of the medication you are using, do not stop taking the medication. If the problem persists, contact your doctor and he or she may be able to prescribe a different medication. Common medications that may list ED as a potential side effect include:

  • Diuretics (pills that cause an increase in urine flow).
  • Antihypertensives (medication for high blood pressure).
  • Antihistamines.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Parkinson’s disease drugs.
  • Antiarrhythmics (medication for irregular heart action).
  • Tranquilizers.
  • Muscle relaxants.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Histamine H2-receptor antagonists.
  • Hormones.
  • Chemotherapy medications.
  • Prostate cancer drugs.
  • Anti-seizure medications.

What other substances or drugs may cause erectile dysfunction?

opioids and Pain Medications
opioids and Pain Medications

Other substances or drugs that can cause or lead to ED include these recreational and frequently abused drugs:

  • Alcohol.
  • Amphetamines.
  • Barbiturates.
  • Cocaine.
  • Marijuana.
  • Methadone.
  • Nicotine.
  • Opiates.

Aside from the well-known complications that the use and abuse of these drugs can cause, ED is not often mentioned. However, use of these drugs is a risk factor for ED. These drugs not only affect and often times slow down the central nervous system, but can also cause serious damage to the blood vessels, leading to permanent ED.

How Clogged Arteries Cause Erectile Dysfunction ?

Are Clogged Arteries To Blame For Erectile Dysfunction?

A growing body of scientific evidence supports the fact that erectile dysfunction can be caused by a clog or multiple clogs in the penile arteries.  As most men know, an erection is produced when arousal causes blood flow to enter the penis through the penile arteries as they widen and allow blood to flow into the network of vessels that travel through the stomach and lead into the penis. The result is swelling which is commonly known as an erection.

But in a man with a blockage in the penile arteries, blood cannot move into the penis the way it would for an otherwise healthy man. The result would be either a partial erection or no erection at all.

 

The Chicken or the Egg: Clogged Arteries Cause ED

It is true that clogged arteries can cause ED but it is also equally true that clogged arteries in the penis can be a symptom of heart disease which means clogged arteries in the rest of the body. According to Harvard Health they are a warning signal of heart disease.

The path to erectile dysfunction often starts at the heart, which pumps blood through arteries to all areas of the body. Erectile dysfunction often occurs when these pathways are blocked by plaque, a condition known as atherosclerosis. So, clogged arteries can cause ED.

Cholesterol builds up on vessel walls, which causes them to narrow and slow down blood flow. If left untreated, flow can come to a screeching halt. Clogged arteries can cause ED and this condition can also cause angina, heart attacks, strokes, and claudication (pain in the legs with walking). In some cases, erectile dysfunction could be a warning sign that a heart attack or stroke may happen down the road.

 

Atherosclerosis and Erectile Dysfunction

Atherosclerosis is commonly defined as the hardening of the arteries responsible for pushing blood to various regions throughout the body. As healthy arteries are an essential part of daily health, individual who do develop atherosclerosis may be at a risk for a variety of potentially harmful conditions, one of which is erectile dysfunction.

Men who suffer from atherosclerosis may notice that it is increasingly difficult to develop and sustain an erection. The arousal process may take substantially longer than it has previously, and the strength and quality of an erection will most likely be noticeably reduced. Additionally, men may find that their erections subside quickly, leaving them a very little window of opportunity in which they can engage in sexual intercourse.

The presence of erectile dysfunction in a man’s life can be heartbreaking. And in the most literal sense it can mean that his physical heart is experiencing a lower level of performance.

In his research, Dr. Faysal Yafi, Director of the Men’s Health Services at the UCI Health Center for Urological Care, found that there is a connection between erectile dysfunction and heart disease.

Atherosclerosis, which can cause a penile blood clot, can develop from a variety of risk factors. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain medications (such as thiazide diuretics)
  • High levels of LDL cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Low testosterone
  • Advanced age
  • Family history of the condition

 

How to Improve Blood Flow to the Penis

As a man interested in being at your best, you are not one to accept defeat when victory can be as close as the next move. You know that poor circulation in the penis can cause ED, but you also know that there are specific actions you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease which produces the clogs that can cause your ED.  Here is a list of steps you can take to unclog penile arteries:

  1. Quit Smoking. Smoking is on the decline but if you are one of the holdouts your smoking habit is likely not doing you any favors in the bedroom. And stopping can help reduce your risk of ED, which is what can happen when arteries in the penis constrict.
  2. Reduce Your Blood Pressure. There are many ways to do this and the lifestyle changes in this list will help unclog penile arteries. But if you are living a stress-filled life now might be the time to take up some new hobbies that provide relaxation and connection with nature.
  3. Communicate with Your Partner. Set aside some time every day to communicate with your partner about whatever is going on in your life. If you are feeling stress in any area of your life, being able to talk about it openly and honestly will reduce the potential negative effects of whatever may be going wrong.
  4. Lose Weight. Your weight may not be affecting your performance now, but combined with other risk factors it may be only a matter of time; losing weight can help unclog penile arteries.
  5. Manage Your Diabetes. Diabetes affects a lot of things in your body including your circulation. You don’t have to cure your diabetes to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
  6. Improve Your Eating Habits. Focus on fresh ingredients and limit over processed and chemical laden foods. A sensible diet packed with leafy greens and multi colored vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy oils can become your best friend.
  7. Reduce Inflammation. Inflammation of any kind can negatively impact one’s health.
  8. Check Your Testosterone. A healthy testosterone level is key to healthy erections and many of the items on this list support healthy testosterone levels.
  9. Move Your Body. A solid exercise regimen will improve your overall health, give you more energy and be an aide in reducing inflammation which can help unclog penile arteries.
  10. Get Enough Sleep. Sleep is not just a time to disconnect from the world. It is the time when your body works to repair and replenish itself to set you up for success tomorrow.

 

What You Need To Know If Your ED Is Caused By a Clog

First, you are not alone. Over 50 percent of American men between the ages of 40 and 70 will experience mild, moderate, or severe erectile dysfunction in their lifetime. It’s pretty clear that atherosclerosis can cause erectile dysfunction.  Atherosclerosis by itself accounts for 50-60 percent of ED cases in men over the age of 60. On a related note, experts estimate that 35 to 50 percent of diabetics experience ED.

Second, contrary to popular perception, ED doesn’t just affect older men. One in four men who sought help at an outpatient clinic for the condition were under the age of 40, nearly half of whom had severe symptoms. While these men in some ways appeared healthier than their older counterparts – less weight, more testosterone, fewer medications – they also smoked or used illegal drugs more regularly. Perhaps of most concern is the fact that a majority of men, regardless of age, do not seek treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Third, there is a non-invasive treatment that is ideal for clog caused ED. It’s called GAINSWave® and it offers a unique solution that can achieve impressive results. This simple in-office procedure uses low-intensity acoustic soundwaves to break up plaque and stimulate the release of growth factors, which can lead to the development of new blood vessels in the penis.

The procedure also awakens dormant stem cells and encourages blood flow, an essential component for normal erectile function. GAINSWave is an effective alternative for men who seek to address ED or simply improve their overall sexual performance.

The man who is committed to upping his game recognizes that a clog can cause ED and he takes action to unclog his penile arteries.

The Early Warning Signs

The best way to judge whether or not an individual is at risk for either atherosclerosis or endothelium damage is to observe their lifestyle habits and men who have high cholesterol, smoke regularly, have diabetes or are obese have a significantly higher risk of developing these conditions than those who do not.

Temporary Treatments

Although the development of atherosclerosis cannot be reversed, a variety of pharmaceutical products can be used to dramatically slow the progress of this condition. That being said, the most valuable tool at any man’s disposal for countering the unwanted effects of atherosclerosis is simple lifestyle adjustments. It is absolutely imperative that men engaging in high-risk behavior change their lifestyle immediately in order to ensure that they do not place themselves further in harm’s way.

As stated previously, men who believe they may be suffering from atherosclerosis are advised to discuss these problems with their doctors immediately in order to ensure the real cause of low sexual stamina so that they have the information they need to effectively combat this illness. Good luck!

Treating clogged arteries

Doctors can prescribe medicines to treat atherosclerosis. These include:

  • antiplatelet medication, such as aspirin or clopidogrel, to reduce blood clotting
  • anticoagulants, such as warfarin or heparin, to thin the blood
  • cholesterol-lowering medicines, such as statins
  • blood pressure medicines

Sometimes, a doctor needs to perform surgery for atherosclerosis. This may include balloon angioplasty or a stent to open a blocked artery. Healthcare professionals can treat angina with a coronary artery bypass. The doctor grafts a piece of a healthy vein to an area above the blockage to allow blood to flow.

 

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How Clogged Arteries Cause Erectile Dysfunction & What You Can Do About It