Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED or impotence is the inability to get an erection or keep an erection long enough to achieve satisfaction.
Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED or impotence is the inability to get an erection or keep an erection long enough to achieve satisfaction. It’s very common and many men have experienced it at least at one time in their life. While its occurrence tends to increase as we get older it can affect men in their 20’s too. It has been shown to affect 50% of men in their 50’s, 60% of men in their 60’s and so on.
There are many causes of ED, and as we get older there tends to be more than one cause. The basic idea is that voluntary erections always begin in the brain, which sends a message down through the spinal cord to the arteries in the penis to open up. That causes blood to enter the penis and stay there. (Erections that occur at night while we sleep or when we wake up in the morning are initiated in the spinal cord and do not require input from the brain). Thus normal sexual functioning requires an intact brain, spinal cord, blood supply to the penis and normal penile anatomy. ED can occur when one or more of these are not functioning well. Common contributing factors to ED are diabetes, long standing high blood pressure, disease in the blood vessels which commonly occurs with cigarette smoking, history of heart disease, spinal cord disease, prior surgery or radiation for prostate cancer or chronic anxiety, to name a few. Many medications can also interfere with erections.