What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Years ago, erectile dysfunction was thought to be largely the result of psychological or lifestyle problems. And, to be sure, stress, depression and troubles in a relationship may be to blame for erection problems. Smoking, heavy drinking and recreational drug use may also adversely affect a man’s ability to have an erection. But research has shown that there may be a number of medical conditions responsible, as well. Any disease that affects nerves, arteries or veins may cause erectile dysfunction.

Certain medical conditions that affect hormones may also cause E.D., such as thyroid disease or adrenal disease. Medications prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions such as hypertension and depression may affect a man’s ability to have an erection, too. E.D. is not hereditary, but some conditions that may cause erectile dysfunction may tend to run in families.

Among the more common medical conditions that may cause E.D. are:

Diseases that affect the arteries, such as hardening of the arteries, which causes decreased blood flow.
Diabetes mellitus, which may affect nerves and blood vessels.

Diseases that affect hormone production, including pituitary tumors and thyroid dysfunction. Chronic medical conditions, such as kidney failure, liver failure and AIDS.

Diseases that affect nerve function including stroke, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
Trauma to the pelvis, such as a pelvic fracture or even long-distance bicycle riding, which may affect nerves and arteries.
Pelvic surgery and pelvic irradiation, including radical prostatectomy and surgery for rectal and anal carcinomas.
Peryonie’s disease, a rare condition that affects certain tissues in the penis. The tissues become scarred, causing the penis to bend to the side.