Understanding Erectile Dysfunction

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

ED (erectile dysfunction) is the inability to maintain an erection firm enough to have sex.  ED is more common than people might think, and it can affect men at any age, not just as they get older.  It’s believed that nearly half of all men aged between forty and seventy will suffer from it at some time in their life and about 25% of cases affect men under the age of forty. 

ED also varies in it’s severity sometimes it may happen only occasionally and for an obvious reason, like having had too much alcohol.  For others it can be a regular occurrence without any obvious reason and have a negative effect on both their confidence and relationship.       


Sexual arousal is a complex process it involves emotions, hormones, the brain, muscles, nerves and blood vessels.  These things can all be affected by both neurological, physical and psychological conditions.

Physical Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Physical conditions such as:

·      Low testosterone

·      Obesity

·      High blood pressure

·      Diabetes

·      Heart disease

·      High cholesterol

·      Clogged blood vessels

·      Kidney disorders

·      Multiple sclerosis

·      Parkinsons disease

·      Sleep disorders

·      Injuries or surgeries to the spinal cord or pelvic area

·      Substance abuse such as drugs, alcohol or tobacco

·      Certain medications including antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, blood pressure and muscle relaxant medication as well as chemotherapy and hormone therapy drugs

Can all contribute too or cause ED.

Psychological Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

There can be many different psychological causes for ED including things such as:

·      Anxiety

·      Depression

·      Stress

·      Relationship problems

·      Loss of attraction

·      Fear of poor sexual performance

·      Low self-esteem or self-worth

·      Feelings of guilt

·      Pornography addiction or over use

Associated Complications

Suffering with ED can also lead to problems with:

·      Stress and anxiety

·      Feelings of embarrassment or developing low self-esteem

·      Relationship issues

·      Difficulties trying to start a family

·      A negative effect on your sex life

Prevention and Self-Help

You should consider leading a healthier lifestyle if you don’t already, and ensure you manage any existing health conditions that could contribute to your ED. This can include things like:

·      Taking regularly exercise

·      Limit or stop altogether your use of nicotine, alcohol and recreational drugs

·      Try and reduce your stress levels

·      Follow your doctor’s advice on managing pre-existing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes etc

·      Seek professional help for any anxiety or depression you may have

Professional Help

If you are struggling with ED you should consult your doctor who can examine you and run appropriate tests to see if your condition is caused by an undiagnosed medical condition or psychological problems.  This could also include blood and urine tests, ultrasound and a psychological test.  Depending on the results they can then diagnose whether you should be prescribed medication specifically for ED or for any other medical condition you may have, or whether they should refer you to a therapist as they can find no underlying physical cause.

Recommended therapies can include counselling, psychotherapy, clinical hypnotherapy or having couples counselling or seeing a sex therapist who deals specifically with sexual problems.  Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free Information click above link.

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