Erectile Dysfunction Causes

Erectile Dysfunction affects about 25 million adult men in the USA alone. Before the medical breakthrough often it was thought that the cause of erectile dysfunction is in the mind itself. But research has proved that around 80% of the cases of erectile dysfunction happen because of the physical factors. In fact erectile dysfunction takes place because of three factors:

Table of Contents

Physical Factors

To begin with the causes of the physical erectile dysfunction, the factors are the biggest of the reasons responsible for it. While erectile dysfunction can cause stress, anxiety and depression, these are certainly not the root causes behind its occurrence. Erectile dysfunction is a sign that much more dangerous diseases are evolving. The diseases which lie underneath the problem of erectile dysfunction are as follows:

  • Vascular Diseases: Vascular diseases are those diseases which affect the blood vessels of the body. This includes diseases like atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol and hypertension. All these diseases restrict the flow of blood to the heart, brain, arteries and in the case of erectile dysfunction, the penis. These diseases account for at least 70% of the cases of ED related to physical causes.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes can cause nerve and artery damage and this leads to a failure in achieving an erection by a man. Approximately 35% to 50% of men with diabetes suffer from erectile dysfunction.
  • Kidney Disease: Kidney disease can cause chemical changes in the body which may affect the hormones, circulation of blood and may even affect the libido or the sex drive of a man. Some drugs used to treat kidney diseases can also cause erectile dysfunction.
  • Neurological Disease: The nervous system (brain, spinal cord and the nerves) plays an important role in achieving erection. Diseases like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries which are neurological diseases cause erectile dysfunction. Neurological diseases cause erectile dysfunction because somehow the nerves are not able to carry the neurological impulse to the penis which makes a man unable to achieve an erection and hence erectile dysfunction is caused.
  • Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer can also be one of the reasons for causing erectile dysfunction. Prostate cancer does not cause erectile dysfunction on its own. The surgical removal of cancer can cause erectile dysfunction.

Other physical causes of erectile dysfunction which are not related to diseases are as follows:

  • Surgery
  • Injury
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Venuous Leak
  • Prescription Drugs

Psychogenic Factors

Although more often erectile dysfunction is caused because of some underlying physical problems yet the psychogenic factors behind the occurrence of erectile dysfunction can not be totally ruled out. About 10% to 20% of all the cases of erectile dysfunction occur because of some psychogenic factors behind them. In some cases of erectile dysfunction the psychological cause may date back to the childhood of a person. He may be unconsciously or consciously still under the shock of some childhood abuse or sexual trauma. A man has to be totally at peace and in relaxed mood at the time when he engages in his sex act. Here are some psychogenic factors which lead to the erectile dysfunction in men, though temporary.


In today's fast life a man may be under tremendous stress which can affect his sexual performance. The stress can be because of some tension related to his job, stress related to his money and finances or even rough patch in his marital life. All these things can bring stress in the life of a man causing erectile dysfunction.


Once a man experiences momentary failure to achieve erection he may become anxious regarding his sexual performance which further aggravates the problem. Thus at times anxiety in its own way plays a vital role in causing erectile dysfunction.


Some times the pressure of not being able to satisfy one's partner fills the mind and heart of that person with guilt. And with guilt the pressure of not being able to perform to one's satisfaction further increases the problem.


Depression is a common cause for erectile dysfunction which affects a man physically as well as psychologically. Sometimes certain drugs used to treat depression also cause the condition of erectile dysfunction.

Low Self Esteem

This can be due to prior episodes of ED (thus a feeling of inadequacy) or can be the result of other issues unrelated to sexual performance.


Indifference towards sexual relations may crop up in the later ages of a man's life. It may be because of the reduced interest in sex or because of the increasing age. This can be either because of the results of some medication or it may be because of some strain in the relationship of the couple.

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Lifestyle Factors

Apart from the physical and psychogenic / psychological factors responsible for causing erectile dysfunction in life disorder there are some lifestyle factors too which add to the list of the factors which cause erectile dysfunction or ED. How do we lead our lives or what is our life style can go a long way in judging the reasons for the condition of erectile dysfunction.

The following things are responsible for causing erectile dysfunction:


Alcohol acts as a nervous system depressant. Therefore you should not take more than 2 drinks every day. Drinking excess of alcohol heightens your chances of developing erectile dysfunction.


Smoking or tobacco is another of our lifestyle causes that is responsible for erectile dysfunction. Smoking can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which obstructs the flow of the blood to the penis area. Moreover smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema etc.


Men who are overweight have high chances of developing hypertension and high cholesterol content which narrows the arteries or blocks them thereby causing an obstruction in the natural blood flow to the male genitalia, causing erectile dysfunction.

Sedentary Lifestyle

If men lead a sedentary lifestyle, they are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction. There has to be some physical activity or exercise to avoid erectile dysfunction.

Drug Abuse

Men who regularly take drugs like marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy etc have a high risk of developing erectile dysfunction. Drug abuse is one of the common lifestyle factors which leads to erectile dysfunction.

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