Erectile Dysfunction – A Sign Of Something Worse?

Sex is an important part of a healthy relationship as well as for a person’s well-being. Sex is not only a method of producing off-springs and maintaining the cycle of nature. In fact, it is an emotional and physical bond that keeps a couple together. Unhealthy or unsatisfactory sex life creates emotional and physical problems in a person’s life. A major cause of unsatisfactory sexual relation is prevailing sexual disorders among men, most common of which is erectile dysfunction or impotence.

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by various reasons or underlying health issues. Some of these issues are discussed below in this article. It is very important to find the exact cause of the problems, instead of just waiting and suffering.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile Dysfunction is the inability of a male to keep the penis erect during sexual intercourse. Erectile Dysfunction is also referred to as impotence. Erectile Dysfunction is becoming a quite common problem among men of this age. There are various reasons behind this problem like sedentary lifestyle, stress and various underlying health disorders. Erectile dysfunction also results from relationship disorders or emotional stress.

Various other common sexual problems prevailing among men are premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation and decreased libido etc.


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Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction:

There are few symptoms that are quite common among erectile dysfunction patients like a problem in getting or maintaining an erection, reduced interest in sexual activities anorgasmia etc.

But it is very important to consult your doctor about these symptoms to find the proper cause of these symptoms. A proper diagnose will tell that whether the person is suffering from erectile dysfunction or any other underlying health problem.

What is the process of an Erection?

Erections are caused when there is an increased flow of blood in the penis. The stimulation behind increased blood flow is basically sexual in origin either a thought or talk or any kind of physical gesture. After a male got sexually excited, erectile muscles get relaxed resulting in an increased flow of blood in the penile arteries and filling the corpus cavernosum. This results in rigidness of the penis during the sexual act.

Erectile dysfunction is basically any damage to this normal procedure resulting in decreased or no erection. There can be various physical, physiological or health parameters behind this.

What are the causes of Erectile Dysfunction?

Male sex-related arousal is a combination of various mechanisms involving brain, hormones, nerves and blood circulatory system. Any problem related to these systems can directly affect the male reproductive system functioning. Likewise, there are various causes of erectile dysfunction which can be physical or physiological in nature. Both the problems disturb the chemical, psychological and physical process involved in gaining and sustaining a normal erection. Some of these causes are


  • Heart problems
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Diabetes
  • Injury
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Sedentary lifestyle leading to obesity etc.


  • Stress
  • Intoxication
  • Relationship disorders in partners

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction:

  • Inability to get an erection
  • Inability to maintain an erection
  • Decreased libido
  • Premature or delayed ejaculation


Is Erectile Dysfunction an indication of something worse?

Erectile dysfunction is not only related to sexual disorders. Many a time it can be an indicator of something wrong not directly related to sexual activity. Erectile dysfunction can be an alarm for various other problems that can be life-threatening disorders. In this article, we are going to discuss those health problems that can lead to erectile dysfunction. These problems must be taken seriously to avoid any greater damage instead of just taking medicines to improve sex quality.

Some of the underlying health problems that may indicate a connection with erectile dysfunction are

  • Cardiovascular or heart problems
  • Hypertension / high blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Sexually transmitted disorders

In this article, we discuss the underlying health issues that can be related to ED and can also be considered as a risk factor leading to the problem.


How is Diabetes related to Erectile Dysfunction?

A large population of men suffering from diabetes is at a greater risk of developing Erectile dysfunction at some stage of their life. There is a risk of developing the erectile dysfunction 10 to 15 years earlier than normal males. In these males, there is difficulty in getting an erection after the age of 50 years. This increase in risk rise to 95% above the age of 70 years.

There are various causes of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes involving complex blood and nerve cells disorders. As discussed earlier erection is a process involving a complex combination of healthy blood vessels, muscles and nervous system. Diabetes can cause a damage to nerve cells and blood vessels that control the erection after getting a sexual stimulus. Therefore, even after having proper male hormones and sex stimulus the person is unable to get the required erection.

Various medicines are available in the market that can help in alleviating the symptoms of getting an erection. These medicines include sildenafil, tadalafil, avanafil or vardenafil. However, it is also commonly found that people having diabetes also suffer from heart problems. Therefore, these medicines should be taken in consultation with your doctor to avoid any adverse effects. These medicines can have an interaction with heart medications containing nitrates.

Certain other treatments are also available for men with diabetes like intracavernous injection therapy, intraurethral therapy, vacuum erection etc. The decision about being the best therapy for a man is dependent on the person himself as well as his doctor according to the health status of the person.

High Blood Pressure can be a cause of Erectile dysfunction:

Blood flow has a direct relationship with the normal erection procedure. The flow of blood in the sheath of tissues of chambers causes the vein to drain blood out of the penis. This traps the blood in the penile area, thus, causing expansion and stiffening of penis leading to an erection.

After the excitement ends, the penis again comes to the flaccid state due to backflow of blood out of the penis. High blood pressure can be a leading cause of erectile dysfunction. high blood pressure causes the arterial muscles to stiffen thus tempering their ability to relax. Therefore, blood supply is not enough for keeping the penis erect. Decreased levels of testosterone in high blood pressure patients can be a real problem because it has a major role in the sexual arousal of a male.

High blood pressure medications also influence the sexual ability of men.

  • Diuretics, a most commonly used medication is also linked to the erectile dysfunction. These drugs decrease the flow of blood in the penis as well as the amount of zinc in blood. Zinc is very much needed to produce testosterone.
  • Beta blockers have a direct effect on the mental condition of a person and mind is somewhat related to sexual arousal. Beta blockers also dampen the nerve impulse response and making the widening of arteries, a bit difficult.
  • Various habits in persons already having blood pressure plays a havoc in the sex life of a person. Smoking and alcohol intake causes an increase in blood pressure and damages the blood vessels.
  • The erectile dysfunction problems in high blood pressure patients can be avoided by changing the lifestyle and working with the doctor.


Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD):

Sexually transmitted diseases can affect both men and women leading to complex health problems. If neglected it can be a cause of Erectile Dysfunction in men. There are several bacteria, viruses and yeast that can be a leading cause of sexually transmitted diseases. A common bacterium that involves in ED is Chlamydia.

Chlamydia causes infection in the prostate gland resulting in swelling and reduced blood supply to the penis. It can also cause pain in testicles having sex painful for the person. The stress of STD infection also hinders the sexual arousal of the man.

Early symptoms of chlamydia infection in men are discharged from the penis, difficulty in urinating due to pain and burning sensation and pain in testicles. The chlamydia infection can prevent a man from fathering. Pain in the sperm-carrying tubes from testicles can be under long-term problems.

Chlamydia infection can spread through unprotected Vaginal, anal or oral sexual contact. Likewise, most bacterial infections the treatment of chlamydia is also antibiotic therapy. This is a curable infection if treated properly and timely. The only thing is to complete the prescribed therapy by a doctor. However, it is important for both the partners to undergo the therapy because if left untreated the infection can spread back and forth. It is also important to refrain from sex until the treatment course for both partners is complete. Chlamydia infection does not make you immune to the infection a second time. This is absolutely a myth.


Stress, Anxiety and its Effect on Erectile Dysfunction:

Stress and anxiety are becoming a common health issue in our society. These problems are prevalent among all the age groups due to various reasons. It may be lifestyle problems, underlying health disorders, work or study pressure etc. stress not only affecting the physical health of a person but also the relationships of people.

Stress affects the health of a person in many ways being a leading cause of heart disorders, high blood pressure, Diabetes and erectile dysfunction, obesity, high cholesterol etc.

Stress can have a negative effect on your sex life and erectile dysfunction can be a major cause of it.

How stress is related to Erectile Dysfunction?

Usually, there are three types of erections

  • Reflexive Erection due to Physical stimulation
  • Psychogenic Erection due to the mental and emotional association
  • Nocturnal Erection usually occurs during sleep

Depending upon erection body systems are involved in it. Any disturbance leads to difficulty in erection. Mental health problems including anxiety, stress affect the physical response of the body to brain signals. These problems certainly affect the proper flow of blood to the penis, therefore, compromising the erection.

A person suffering from anxiety can lead to erectile dysfunction. In the same way, erectile dysfunction can cause extreme stress thus leading to problems in relations. Both the problems can go hand in hand, if not treated at a proper time.

Stress and anxiety related erectile dysfunction affects approximately 90% of young men but is usually short-lived. Professional stress-related problems affect the middle-aged men. In older people, the common type of erectile dysfunction is physical impotence. Loneliness or other related issues can lead to psychological stress in old age men. Another study has given the facts that posttraumatic stress i.e. Stress as an after effect of a physical or emotional shock can lead to sexual dysfunction. The risk can be increased up to three times due to an increase in levels of few hormones in the body that interfere with normal sexual activity.


Treatment of Stress and Anxiety related to Erectile Dysfunction:

There are various treatment options available for stress related to erectile dysfunction. The choice of therapy is made on the type of erectile dysfunction helping you break out stress and resulting erectile dysfunction or vice versa.
Some of the treatments are discussed below:

  • Counselling:
    Sometimes many problems can be relieved by just taking an expert advice or talking your heart out e.g. relationship problems among partners. People suffering from any kind of psychological erectile dysfunction or having performance anxiety can have a relieve after proper counselling with a professional. Psychodynamic therapy is a kind of counselling that involves addressing the problem and finding the root cause of your problem.
  • Sex therapy:
    This therapy aims basically to reduce the anxiety and stress by making the sex life secure, reliable and pleasuring for the couple. It works on improving emotional attachment rather than sexual intimation.
  • Performance related Anxiety Therapy:
    Many a time, the basic reason behind the problem is worries and tension due to the lack of knowledge about sexual activity. In such cases, a doctor will help you by explaining the facts about erectile dysfunction and normal sexual activity. A doctor will also find a solution to your problem by helping you feel relaxed and emotionally attached to your relations.


  • Various other alternative therapies are also quite popular these days including meditation, yoga, motivational talks, acupuncture etc. These treatments manage the stress by altering brain chemistry in a positive way. Some herbal products are also found helpful like Panax ginseng, black maca, kava, or chamomile. However, in case of chronic underlying health issues or persistent problem, these therapies are a little in-effective and you need proper medical treatment to overcome the issue.

Stress-related Erectile dysfunction can be relived but it will take time, proper therapy and self-confidence. Talk to your doctor for the best suitable treatment for you depending on the cause.

In conclusion, although, erectile dysfunction itself is not a life-threatening problem, yet it cannot be neglected because it must play a major role in your life. Another aspect which is discussed above in this article is also of prime importance that whether it is just a sexual disorder or an alarm for a hidden problem. Whether erectile dysfunction is leading you to the lethal disorder or it is a side effect of the problem, it must be discussed and treated under the supervision of a doctor to avoid any health loss.


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