Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects up to 30 million men across the United States. It can be a distressing condition, and it can be caused by many different factors such as an underlying health condition or stress.

If erectile dysfunction is regularly interfering with your life, it may be time to seek advice from an internal medicine specialist to get to the root of the issue so it can be successfully treated. Let’s talk about what causes ED and who can help you overcome the condition with treatment.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

It is not uncommon for men to fail to get, or keep, an erection from time to time. However, if this issue becomes a more frequent problem, it may be a sign of erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence.

ED occurs when you are unable to achieve an erection, maintain an erection, or ejaculate on a regular basis. This issue can be caused by a number of physical and emotional problems, and the risk of developing erectile dysfunction increases with age. The risk of ED also increases in men who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Sexual arousal is a complex process involving the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. If there is a problem in one of these areas, such as an underlying heart condition or circulatory problem, it can cause erectile dysfunction.

Lifestyle factors including smoking, drinking alcohol, or using illicit drugs can also have an impact on the ability to achieve or sustain an erection. Some of the other main underlying conditions that can lead to ED include the following:

Cardiac Conditions

Health conditions that affect the heart and blood flow, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), and atherosclerosis (clogged blood vessels, or hardening of the arteries), can negatively impact the amount of blood traveling to the penis. If there is not enough blood flow, it can prevent the ability to achieve or maintain an erection. Being overweight or obese can also cause elevated cholesterol levels and damage blood vessels, thereby leading to erectile dysfunction.

Endocrine Disorders

The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce, release, and regulate hormones to help with many important functions within the body. These functions include metabolism, reproduction, sexual function, and mood. Endocrine disorders can cause the body to produce too much or too little of a hormone, thereby leading to a hormone imbalance – and some of these hormonal abnormalities can cause erectile dysfunction.

Neurological and Nerve Disorders

Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, and stroke result from damage to the nervous system. Nerve damage can affect the brain’s ability to communicate with parts of the body, such as the reproductive system, thereby potentially preventing the ability to achieve an erection. Injury, prostate surgery, and surgeries that affect the pelvic or spinal region can also result in nerve damage that lead to erectile dysfunction.


Some medications, such as those which treat high blood pressure, can decrease blood flow to the penis and make it difficult to achieve an erection. Other medications can affect the hormones or nerves and cause the same effect.

Medicines that can contribute to erectile dysfunction include:

  • Prostate cancer medications
  • Diuretics
  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers
  • Chemotherapy
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Synthetic hormones

Psychological Factors

Psychological issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, and fatigue can all affect your ability to become sexually aroused. This can have an impact on achieving or sustaining an erection.

Comprehensive Medical Care in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach

Here at the Advanced Medical Clinic, we offer a high standard of primary and urgent care for health issues and health maintenance. Our comprehensive treatment options are designed to help you achieve a better quality of life through management of many conditions, such as erectile dysfunction and reproductive issues.

If you are looking for quality healthcare, turn to our board-certified internal medicine specialist Dr. Gunawardene and his team of experienced and compassionate medical providers. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling us at (561) 434-1935 or request an appointment now via our convenient online form. We look forward to being your healthcare partner.