Erectile dysfunction happens to men of all ages. ED is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.
It is especially common after age 40, but ED is not a normal part of aging.
Yet many men wait months or even years to bring it up to their doctors, and some never seek treatment at all. It may seem embarrassing, but there are a range of successful treatments for ED and your doctor can refer you to a urologist, or men’s health specialist, who can identify the underlying cause of erectile dysfunction.
The cause of ED may not be what you expect. Treating erectile dysfunction with medication may not always work if it is due to another health condition or activity. Here are 6 surprising reasons for Erectile Dysfunction and possible solutions for a healthy sex life.
1. Diabetes is a life-threatening condition that can affect many areas of the body. When the blood sugar level is consistently high and uncontrolled, it can result in damage to nerves and blood vessels. People with Type 2 diabetes know to be cautious about injuring their extremities for this reason, and it is also why they are more likely to have ED. Blood flow is essential for having an erection and diabetes can interfere with that.
2. High cholesterol is another systemic condition that is potentially life-threatening. Plaque build-up in the arteries is influenced by high cholesterol in the blood. This can impede blood flow through the narrowed passageways, and in addition to raising blood pressure, reduce the amount of blood to the penis. It is more difficult to form an erection with less blood available in the blood vessels.
3. Depression – in addition to causing some people to lose interest in many formerly-pleasurable activities (like sex), depression can cause men to self-medicate with alcohol or smoking cigarettes, which can in turn increase their risk of ED. Those who get treated for depression with medication also may struggle with side effects, including ED.
4. Cycling or horseback riding can put the wrong kind of pressure on the testes. If you spend a lot of time on a bicycle, motorcycle or horse, it can cause ED.
5. Periodontitis (gum disease) seems like a stretch, but gum disease causes chronic inflammation that can affect the entire body. Reducing blood flow is one effect of inflammation that makes it more difficult to have an erection. A correlation of gum disease and ED has been shown in studies without clear causation, but it makes sense.
6. Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder where breathing stops multiple times per night for more than a few seconds. This consistent reduction in oxygen supplied to the body can reduce sexual desire and the ability to perform. If you are known to be a snorer, you could be at risk.
If you have ED, the best thing you can do for yourself and your sex life is to see an experienced urologist. Men in the Charlotte, North Carolina, and surrounding areas trust Dr. Richard Natale of Carolina Urology Partners for expert diagnosis and treatment of men’s health issues, including erectile dysfunction. Call (704) 786-5131 for an appointment today.