What Causes Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)

September 7, 2022

What is erectile dysfunction?

The inability to achieve and maintain an erection firm enough for intercourse is known as erectile dysfunction or impotence. Most guys experience occasional erection failure. It’s nothing to fear about because this is typically brought on by stress, exhaustion, anxiety, or consuming too much alcohol. If it occurs more frequently, it can be a sign of physical or psychological issues.

As mentioned already, it is not always a reason for alarm to experience occasional erection problems. However, if erectile dysfunction persists, it may stress you out, undermine your confidence, and complicate your relationships. Problems getting or maintaining an erection can also be a risk factor for heart disease and a symptom of an underlying medical illness that needs to be treated. Impotence, or issues in getting an erection, is fairly frequent, especially in males over 40. Although there’s typically nothing to worry about, if it persists you should visit a doctor. It can be a symptom of something more serious.

How does erection work?

Nerves release substances that boost blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. Two erection chambers of the penis, which are formed of spongy muscular tissue, called the corpus cavernosum receive blood flow. The chambers of the corpus cavernosum are solid.

The spongy tissues relax during an erection and trap blood. An erection is produced when the penis contracts due to the blood pressure in the chambers. An orgasm is when a man experiences a second set of nerve signals that drive the muscle tissues of the penis to contract, releasing blood back into the circulation and causing the erection to disappear.

Your penis is soft and limp when you are not sexually aroused. It is common for men to see that their penis changes in size in response to heat, cold, or stress. This is because the balance of blood entering and exiting the penis is changing.


Symptoms of erectile dysfunction may include:

  • Having issues getting an erection

  • Problems maintaining an erection

  • Decreased sexual arousal

It might be challenging to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for intercourse when you have erectile dysfunction (ED). Your health care physician or a urologist might offer assistance if ED develops into a persistent issue.

ED may be a serious indicator that a man’s vascular system is becoming blocked, which is a sign of cardiovascular disease. According to certain research, men with ED are significantly more likely to experience a heart attack, a stroke, or circulation issues in their legs.

ED also results in:

  • Depression

  • Self-esteem issues

  • Distress for the man and his partner

It is important to treat ED if it is hurting a man’s relationships or overall health. The goal of treatment is to improve erectile function, circulatory health, and a man’s quality of life.


Health concerns, emotional problems, or a combination of the two can lead to ED. Known risk factors include:

  • Being over age 50

  • A high blood sugar level (Diabetes)

  • An elevated blood pressure

  • A cardiovascular condition

  • A high cholesterol level

  • Using drugs, smoking, or consuming too much alcohol

  • Obesity

  • Lack of exercise

Although ED increases in prevalence as men age, getting older does not always result in ED. Some guys can have intercourse well into their 80s. ED may be a precursor to a more serious health issue. A crucial initial step is identifying and addressing the underlying cause of ED.

Physical Causes of ED

  • The flow of blood into the penis is insufficient. Numerous health conditions, such as clogged arteries, heart disease, excessive blood sugar (Diabetes), and smoking, can decrease blood flow to the penis.

  • Blood cannot be retained in the penis during an erection. A man cannot maintain an erection if blood does not remain in the penis. Any age can experience this problem.

  • The penis does not receive nerve signals from the brain or spinal cord. Nerves leading to the penis can be damaged by certain disorders, trauma, or surgery in the pelvic region.

  • Diabetes can harm the penis’ nerves or induce small vessel disease.

  • Functionality of the penis can be impacted by cancer therapies close to the pelvis ED can be brought on by lower abdomen or pelvic cancer surgery, radiation, or both. Men frequently develop ED after undergoing treatment for bladder, prostate, or colon cancer. If they have any sexual health issues, cancer survivors should visit a urologist.

  • Erections might be adversely affected by medications used to treat other medical conditions. Patients should consult their primary care physicians about medication adverse effects.

Emotional Causes of ED

The mind and body must cooperate for normal sex to occur. Relationship or emotional issues may contribute to or exacerbate ED.

Some emotional problems that may result in ED include:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Conflicts in relationships

  • Stress from social, cultural, or religious problems

  • Stress at work or at home

  • Worry about sexual performance

Diagnosis & Treatment

Identifying the cause of your erectile dysfunction is important to determine your treatment. Your doctor will first inquire about your heart and vascular health as well as your erection issue in order to diagnose ED. A physical examination, lab testing, or a referral to a urologist may also be ordered by your healthcare professional.

For some of the causes of erectile dysfunction, there are highly specific treatments available. The treatment includes medication to control blood pressure and statins to lower cholesterol if the cause is narrowing of penile blood arteries, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. If hormone-related, hormone replacement therapy (such as testosterone) is the recommended course of action. Treatment for adverse effects of prescribed medications might involve changing the medication after consulting with the doctor.

Doctors frequently prescribe drugs like sildenafil (marketed as Viagra) to patients with erectile dysfunction. It is also sold by pharmacies. You can now get sildenafil without a prescription thanks to changes in rules. To ensure that taking medication is safe for you, you must first speak with the pharmacist.

When to see a doctor?

A smart place to start when you have erectile dysfunction is with your family doctor. Consult a doctor if:

  • You worry about your erections or you’re having other sexual issues, like early or late ejaculation.

  • You suffer from diabetes, heart disease, or any ailment that is known to be associated with erectile dysfunction.

  • Along with erectile dysfunction, you also have additional symptoms.

At URO Diagnostic Clinic, you will have access to Dubai’s most excellent urologists who can help you resolve erectile issues.