Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence is not being able to maintain a firm erection for sex. The causes of erectile dysfunction are many and varied. Some are indicative of the environment or lifestyle while others are completely out of your control such as certain medications that treat more serious illnesses. Before we outline why men get ED, it is important to note that occasional erectile dysfunction is not uncommon. It becomes a problem that requires medical treatment when it becomes persistent.
So, if were unable to maintain an erection once or twice in the past few months, you really have nothing to worry about. If it happens frequently, the following maybe some of the reasons why.
1. Gum Disease
It is one of the lesser known causes of erectile dysfunction and for good reason- the link between gum disease and ED has been determined and confirmed but doctors still don’t know why periodontitis can lead to ED. If you are wondering what your penis and gums have in common, well ongoing research has been unable to point a direct line. What is clear is, men who suffer periodontitis are more likely to suffer from ED than men who don’t.
In general, gum disease is an indicator of poor health. By itself, gum disease has been linked to heart disease which is a factor for increased ED risk. Also, because gum disease is an indicator of a problem getting blood flow to the gums, it is likely that periodontitis patients could have trouble with blood flow to other parts of the body like the penis thereby resulting in ED.
What You Can Do
For this risk factor, the solution is a simple as preventing gum diseases by practicing good oral hygiene. It is also equally as important to treat incidences of gum disease to prevent not just the loss of teeth but heart disease and in effect lower the risk of having ED.
There has long been a connection between horseback riding and erectile dysfunction. This link was first identified in the 9th Century BC by the Scythians. Recently, a new form of exercise has been added to ED risk factors. A research study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2005, found that 4 per cent of bicyclists who spend more than 3 hours riding experienced either moderate or severe ED. This is compared to only 1 per cent of runners.
The reason for this is, when you sit on a bike for long periods of time, undue pressure is placed on the nerves and arteries that carry blood to the penis. Do this for long enough and the nerves and blood vessels could be damaged, increasing the risk of ED.
What You Can Do
Spending less time on the bike should significantly reduce the risk. Consider taking up another form of exercise but keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ride a bike, just keep the time you spend on the bicycle to less than 3 hours.
Of the three reasons why men get erectile dysfunction, depression remains a key factor that when left unchecked, may result in other health issues. It is estimated that more than half (up to 61% in some studies) of people suffering from depression may experience sexual problems. The biochemical processes in depressed individuals makes it very difficult to get and keep an erection. It is the responsibility of chemicals in the brain to communicate and stimulate blood flow to the penis and this fails to happen in depressed individuals. Also, the mental or psychological state of a depressed individual makes it very hard to be in a sexual mindset which is required for a healthy erection.
The treatment for depression is also a major cause of ED. Some antidepressants have been proven to cause sexual problems in both men and women. The National Institute of Mental Health found that nearly 50% of depression patients on SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) suffered sexual problems.
What Can You Do
Depression in itself is a complicated issue and if you are diagnosed with this condition, your chances of getting ED are significantly higher. In this case, it is best to follow through on the treatment for depression before tackling any other issues that may arise as a result of the depression including ED.
If you suffer from ED, it is important to note that only your doctor can help you identify the cause and recommend a treatment suited to you. Also, don’t be embarrassed, erectile dysfunction affects 1 in 5 men over forty treatment is available and effective.