Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects about 40% of men by age 40. That number increases with age, with about 70% of men 70 years old or older dealing with this issue—but it’s actually NOT a normal part of aging. ED is usually a signal that another system in your body is having problems.
The symptoms of Low T or ED and how they affect your daily life shouldn’t be dramatic! We’re here to help.
What can cause erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is complex. Your nervous, circulatory, and endocrine systems need to work together for you to have and keep an erection. If one or more of these systems is having a problem, it can cause difficulty in getting or keeping an erection. It can also become worse if it goes untreated. For this reason, your best bet is to see a healthcare professional—not just try home treatments.
While it is normal for men’s testosterone levels to decrease by a small amount each year, normal aging should not cause ED until the hormone decrease is significant. If your testosterone levels are low or deficient, that’s usually an easily treatable problem.
Smoking damages your blood vessel structure, and your blood vessels need to be in good shape to successfully keep an erection. There is a strong correlation between how much you smoke and how bad your ED is. Simply quitting can give you considerably better erections.
Too much body fat wreaks havoc on the hormones you need to function at your best sexually. It can also decrease testosterone and put you at risk for diabetes, both of which cause damage to your blood vessels.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis) have been correlated with ED. Let your doctor know if you have any of those issues or if you’ve ever had a stroke, heart attack, or angina.
Increased pornography use is frequently correlated with decreased erectile function. Escalating use of pornography can bring up your threshold for stimulus and arousal, making erections more difficult to start and maintain and cause unrealistic expectations.
Depressants, like alcohol or prescription or recreational drugs are known to depress your nervous system. This means that they effectively reduce your blood pressure and your threshold for stimulation and arousal—an obvious roadblock to anyone who wants an erection.
Both one-time and repeated injuries can affect your ability to have an erection. A one-time injury can include a penile fracture, prostate surgery, or a spinal cord injury. Gradual, compounding injuries include things like extended time horseback riding, bike riding, sitting for work, driving long distances, or radiation treatment to the groin area. Let your provider know if anything like these examples apply to you.
Medications that affect your hormones, your heart, blood pressure, or inflammation process can affect your erections. While many medications list ED as a side effect, some common offenders include Valium, Zantac, Bumex, Lasix, Catapres, Ibuprofen, Benadryl, Zoloft, Prozac, and Ativan.
Poor mental health can become a huge contributing factor to ED. Anxiety and/or depression leads to higher cortisol levels. If your cortisol levels stay high for too long, your body produces less testosterone, which can dramatically lower your libido, sex drive, and ability to have an erection.
What can I do to start treating erectile dysfunction?
Discover and reduce your risk factors
One of the easiest ways to start boosting your sexual function is simply taking care of yourself! Managing your weight and mental health can play a huge role in fighting ED—and while they might not seem like they’re directly related to your sexual health, reducing your alcohol intake, smoking, and pornography use can tremendously improve your ability to get and keep an erection.
Seeing a medical professional who specializes in hormone optimization can help you pinpoint exactly what’s going on. Experts can also help you with challenging life changes, such as addressing your mental health, improving nutrition, reducing stress, and quitting smoking. They can also review your medications and order tests to get a better picture. MedStudio specializes in helping men of all ages narrow down the root cause of their issues with ED.
Again, your best bet is to see an expert! ED causes can be extremely varied, which makes treatment options very broad as well. Your treatment could range from a simple lifestyle change to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
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