Having erection trouble from time to time isn't necessarily a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.
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"Some physical problems that can lead to weak erections are the inability of your brain to send signals to your penis, which can be caused by neurological conditions like MS, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's," adds Axe. "Studies suggest that stress, anxiety and depression can produce major chemical changes in your brain, leading to the inability of smooth muscles to relax and allow for an erection. On top of this, researchers have also indicated that the failure to achieve an erection can aggravate a man's anxiety levels, leading to a vicious cycle."
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The blood vessels in your penis are smaller than the larger veins and arteries in other parts of your body. What that means is the first sign of hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, and clogged arteries may not be a stroke or a heart attack. It will often be erectile dysfunction. Regular physical activity reduces your risks for cardiovascular disease (which is awesome), but it also lowers your risk for ED. If there’s a better reason to sweat through a spin class, I can’t think of one.
Smoking damages blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow throughout the body ... and I mean throughout the body. While studies have found that men with erectile problems only make up 20 percent of the general population, 40 percent of men with erectile problems are smokers. And a 2011 study of a group of male smokers with erectile problems found that 75 percent of them saw those erectile problems disappear after they quit.
The strength and frequency of your erection are an important indicator of your overall health. The blood vessels in the penis are smaller than arteries and veins in other parts of your body, so any problems like blockages, blood vessel dilation issues, or hormone imbalances will often show up as erectile dysfunction (or less firm erections) before something more serious like a heart attack or stroke.
Regular exercise and a diet rich in antioxidants is also the foundation of permanent weight control and diabetes prevention. Studies at the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center show that weight loss is strongly associated with better sexual function. Other studies show that diabetes is a major risk factor for ED, and that a healthy lifestyle prevents the disease and can restore erection function.
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The answers to these questions, as well as physiological tests like an ultrasound or neurological assessment, can help determine the root cause of ED. Depending on the cause, different treatment options are available. Treatments range from medication, to hormone replacement therapy, to vascular surgery, to sex therapy and/or couples counseling. It sounds like you have ruled out many physical factors, in which case it may be useful to consider psychological factors. Often, couples counseling and/or sex therapy (as a couple or individual) can identify factors related to ED, help with communication, and improve sex for both partners. For a sex therapist, check out the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) web site and click on the "Locate a Professional" link.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) opens the arteries, including those that carry blood into the penis. Korean researchers gave 90 ED sufferers one of three treatments: a placebo, an antidepressant (trazodone), or ginseng. The placebo and antidepressant groups showed 30 percent erection improvement, the ginseng group, 60 percent. Other Korean scientists repeated this study, giving a placebo or ginseng (2,700 mg/day) to 45 men with ED. After 8 weeks, the ginseng group reported firmer erections. However, 2,700 mg of ginseng might cause jitters and possibly insomnia.
For starters, while past studies have estimated that ED affects somewhere between 1 and 10 percent of men under 40, our survey revealed that 80 percent of guys who responded have had an issue getting it up at least once. Here, we get to the bottom of what’s killing their boners and help you handle the moment if and (more likely) when it happens to you.
So not only are erectile problems common, they're nothing for you or your special friend to be freaked out about. Check out the nine most common reasons that dudes sometimes can't get it up, and get ready to become the soothing voice of reason the next time the guy you're with has a hard time pitching his tent in your happy valley. Everything (and every penis) is gonna be fine!
Erectile dysfunction is no laughing matter. And although it is not an easy thing to talk about, there are trained professionals who can give you good advice about what may be the cause of your current predicament. Many men like to talk about sex, but like women, they may find it harder to talk about sex when it is not going well. You won’t be judged or talked about at BPAS. We are here to help you with some of the more private things in life.