Erectile dysfunction (ED or (male) impotence) is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis. There are various underlying causes, such as cardiovascular leakage and diabetes, many of which are medically treatable.

The causes of erectile dysfunction may be physiological or psychological. Physiologically, erection is a hydraulic mechanism based upon blood entering and being retained in the penis, and there are various ways in which this can be impeded, most of which are amenable to treatment. Psychological impotence is where erection or penetration fails due to thoughts or feelings (psychological reasons) rather than physical impossibility; this can often be helped. Notably in psychological impotence there is a very strong placebo effect.

Erectile dysfunction, tied closely as it is to cultural notions of potency, success and masculinity, can have devastating psychological consequences including feelings of shame, loss or inadequacy; often unnecessary since in most cases the matter can be helped. There is a strong culture of silence and inability to discuss the matter. In fact around 1 in 10 men will experience recurring impotence problems at some point in their lives.

Physiological Reasons for Erectile Dysfunction

* Spinal Cord and Nerve Disorders (like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, MS)
* Hormonal Imbalances
* Arterial Disorders (like hypertension)
* Surgery
* Radiation treatments
* Lifestyle Choices (like obesity, smoking, drug and alcohol)
* Age
* Iatrogenic Causes (Medicinally caused) (like high blood pressure meds)

Psychological Reasons for Erectile Dysfunction

Psychological erectile dysfunction can occur when a man is feeling depressed, has ED.jpgfeeling of nervousness or anxiety. The issue can arise from problems with work, family or money that can lead to stressors that can inhibit sexual desire and ability. Unresolved issues with a partner or feelings of self-consciousness are two other reasons a man may experience erectile dysfunction. One last reason may be fear of a partner's reaction. Rejection is a strong psychological reason to have performance anxiety.

The most important factor is determining the underlying reason for the dysfunction so that appropriate measures can be taken to resolve the issue.

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