What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can have a variety of causes, both physical and psychological. Some common physical causes include:

  • Cardiovascular disease, such as blocked or narrowed blood vessels in the heart, brain or legs which can affect blood flow to the penis.
  • Diabetes, which can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control erections.
  • High blood pressure, which can damage the blood vessels and affect blood flow to the penis.
  • Hormonal imbalances, such as low levels of testosterone, which can affect sexual function.
  • Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or spinal cord injuries, which can affect nerve function and blood flow to the penis.
  • Peyronie's disease, which is a condition characterized by the formation of a hard lump, or plaque, on the shaft of the penis
  • Certain medications, such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and opioids, can affect sexual function.
  • Substance abuse, such as excessive alcohol consumption or use of illegal drugs, which can affect sexual function.

Psychological causes of ED can include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems
  • Performance anxiety

In some cases, ED may be caused by a combination of physical and psychological factors. It is important to consult a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause of ED and to discuss the best treatment options for you.

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