You used to be able to easily achieve an erection, but now you’re struggling, and you want to know why. While it may be helpful to know that you’re in good company — erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 52% of men in the United States — it doesn't help with your current situation.
To help you better understand why you may be having problems achieving and maintaining an erection, the team of men’s health experts here at Arizona Urology decided to focus on the many drivers of erectile dysfunction in this month’s blog post. And there are many.
On the surface, an erection seems like a simple enough process — you become aroused and your penis responds. Behind the scenes, however, there’s a lot more to it than that.
From the initial arousal all the way through to ejaculation, many of your body’s systems are involved, including your:
In most cases, you see, smell, touch, or hear something that sends messages of arousal to your brain. Your brain then responds and relaxes your arteries to allow more blood to flow into your penis. The blood is then trapped in your penis until you ejaculate or the arousal response wanes and your veins open up and the blood drains out.
Since there are so many different areas of your body that are involved in your ability to maintain and achieve an erection, it follows that there are many drivers of ED.
To give you an idea, here are some of the more common issues:
One of the leading drivers of ED is cardiovascular issues, namely not enough blood flow to your penis. Poor circulation is more common as men age and plaque builds up along the walls of their arteries, which limits the amount of blood that can flow through. An erection requires a good deal of blood quite quickly, and your arteries may not be up to the task.
Poor peripheral nerve health can also lead to ED. For example, if you have diabetes, your peripheral nerves may develop neuropathy, which can affect your ability to achieve an erection. Or, perhaps you’ve had trauma to your penis in which the nerves were damaged.
Another ED driver is a problem with low testosterone levels, which can affect your libido and overall sexual health.
Your brain plays no small role in your ability to achieve an erection. In fact, there’s even a name for this subset of ED — psychogenic ED — which can occur because of depression, anxiety, stress, or emotional distress. With psychogenic ED, your brain may not be sending out the necessary chemicals and messaging for an erection.
Making matters more complicated, having ED can be a further source of stress and anxiety, which may only worsen the initial problem.
Since there are so many areas of your health that can influence your ability to achieve and maintain an erection, it’s important that you seek the help of the men’s health experts here at Arizona Urology.
After a thorough examination and related testing, we can get to the bottom of your ED and recommend the best avenue for restoring your sex life.
For top-notch treatment of your ED, contact one of our offices in Goodyear, Gilbert, or Glendale, Arizona, to set up an appointment.