Erectile Dysfunction !
Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
The origins of erectile dysfunction are twofold: physical and psychological. Up to thirty years ago, psychological factors were thought to be most important. Sex therapists Masters and Johnson went so far as to claim that nine out of ten men with erectile dysfunction had a psychological problem. For example, men with depression are very often impotent. But nowadays, we know that even though the psychological aspect is very important, a lot of men with erectile dysfunction have physical problems.
Of course, it
isn't necessarily as simple as you might think to separate the two,
because erectile dysfunction causes changes in a a man's emotional
state: all of us who have found ourselves impotent on occasion will know
the anxiety and depression this can produce. One can therefore
legitimately ask whether stress, anxiety and depression
dysfunction or whether they are a result of it.
Blood vessel abnormalities as a cause of erectile dysfunction
As we said above, if the arteries which carry blood to the penis are blocked or damaged, or if the veins which drain blood from the penis are damaged, a good erection may fail to develop, or be maintained, respectively. Most often, a blockage of the arteries which carry blood to the penis is responsible: as little as fifteen percent blockage (occlusion) of these very small blood vessels can cause a problem with erectile dysfunction. This blockage is often caused by risk factors like smoking cigarettes, high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevation of blood cholesterol levels. Injury caused by pelvic trauma or pelvic radiation therapy may also be responsible.
Most men with erectile dysfunction caused by a reduction in arterial blood flow will show other cardiovascular problems in the body. For even if they have not had a heart attack, impotent men often have a history of coronary artery disease, and some men with erectile dysfunction have poor blood circulation to their feet and legs, again as a result of arterial occlusive disease.
A past pelvic fracture which has
of the arteries carrying blood to the penis may also cause erection
problems: this is sometimes seen in young patients, in their twenties, who have
undergone pelvic trauma or fracture. And as is fairly well known, diabetic men
may show erectile dysfunction as an effect of damage to the nerve and vascular supply
to the penis. Diabetic men, and some older men, have large amounts of scarring, or fibrosis,
on the inside of the walls of the
arteries which supply the blood to the penis. Scarring, caused by
arterial plaque buildup, can
reduce the internal diameter of the arteries.
In an anxious man, the trabecular smooth muscle
of the penis and the vascular
spaces of the penis may not relax sufficiently to allow adequate
sinusoidal expansion, in which case the subtunical veins will not become compressed
sufficiently to maintain an erection. This may
happen when a man is overanxious. In effect, his adrenalin impairs relaxation of the smooth muscle
of his penis
in response to the stimulation of nitric oxide. (This is explained in
more detail here.)
Other pages on this website about the causes of erectile dysfunction and impotence
Other sections on erectile dysfunction