The Three Major Causes of Impotence
A great deal of confusion and misinformation exists about what exactly brings about impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction. Here we will discuss all of the potential causes so you will have a deeper understanding of what could contribute to an ED issue you currently have or may face in the future.
In a nutshell, the causes fall into three main categories: physical factors, psychological factors and lifestyle factors.
Regardless of its source, it leads a number of men to feel frustrated, inadequate, and anxious. Many believe that it is a reflection of their sexual ability and virility and these beliefs often lead to loss of self-esteem and depression.
This prompts the belief that psychological factors are one of the primary causes of impotence. However, more than 80% of men have underlying physical rather than psychological issues that are likely causing the problem. Let's take a look at these issues first.
Physical Impotence Causes
Erectile dysfunction is often the first sign of an underlying medical condition. As an example, almost 60% of adult-onset diabetes is first detected via the onset of impotence.
A visit to your doctor can quickly clear up any concerns you may have. Tests for impotency generally include a thorough physical examination. The doctor will usually ask you for a full medical and sexual history, and may order an ultrasound of your pelvic and groin area, as well as blood tests, to check for any abnormalities.
We've included a comprehensive guide to what you can expect when you visit your doctor at How Is Impotence Diagnosed?
For your reference, the major physical ED causes are:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol and poor blood circulation due to blocked arteries
- Surgery to the prostate, lower bowel or lower spine
- Liver and kidney disease
- Hormone and thyroid disorders
- Parkinson's disease
- Peyronie's Disease
- Injuries, particularly as a result of bicycle riding, horseback riding or gymnastics
For more specific information, you can check out our physical impotence causes page and diseases causing ED page.
Psychological Issues That Can Contribute to ED
Medical experts believe that psychological factors directly contribute to only 10% to 20% of impotence causes. However, men with a physical factor can often indirectly experience psychological reactions.
Psychological factors can include:
- Depression and anxiety disorders
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Mental fatigue
- Psychological abuse or trauma
- Problems with sexual identity
- Relationship problems
Click on the link to learn more about psychological impotence causes.
Your Lifestyle Can Also Play a Significant Role
Lifestyle factors can also play a major role in ED. Making positive changes to your lifestyle will not only improve your overall health, but can help you overcome problems with performance.
Lifestyle factors include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Illicit drug abuse. In particular heroin, marijuana, cocaine and anabolic steroids
- Extreme obesity
- Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle
Medications Can Also Contribute to ED
Another of the leading possibilities is medications. If you have ED, it's important that you speak with your doctor about any medications you are currently taking, whether they are prescription or over-the-counter treatments.
The following drugs can contribute to the problem:
- Antidepressants, anti-psychotics and tranquilizers
- Blood pressure drugs
- Appetite suppressants
- Beta blockers used for controlling angina and high blood pressure
Your doctor or pharmacist will also have a complete list of drugs to avoid while taking one of the oral impotency pills, such as Viagra®, Cialis® or Levitra.
- Lifestyle Changes
Making changes to your lifestyle will not only improve your general health, it will improve your psychological health and can help prevent impotence problems.
Almost 60% of Americans are now considered to be obese, largely caused by poor food and lifestyle habits. Consumers are swamped with information about the latest diet fads or magic fat busting pill but medical experts are concerned that this information doesn't seem to be having the necessary impact.
Following the basic guidelines of eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber and low in saturated fats is a good way to begin to look after your general health.
Regular exercise is not only good for your heart, it's good for your head. Surveys have shown that men who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from stress and anxiety, as well as a range of other ailments. Exercise is also said to improve testosterone production, which improves sexual functioning.
Staying sexually active also helps maintain good blood flow to the penis, which in turn helps overcome the issue.
- Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and are commonly used by pregnant women and people who suffer from urinary incontinence. These exercises have also been found to assist men whose impotence is due to impaired blood circulation.
To isolate the particular muscle required to perform Kegel exercises, the best method is to practice first while urinating. Begin by contracting the muscle necessary to slow or stop urination, then try to hold the contraction for 10 seconds and release. Continue this exercise until you know which muscle is involved. Once you've isolated the muscle, it's recommended you don't practice while urinating.
You can continue contracting and releasing the muscle on a daily basis. It's recommended you perform at least 10 contractions up to 5 times daily.
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