What illnesses can cause erectile dysfunction?

Illnesses which can cause erectile dysfunction

Although the stigma around erectile dysfunction (ED) is beginning to fade, it’s still a personal issue that can be embarrassing to talk about. We get that. But if it’s a consistent problem for you, it’s important to tell your doctor about it.

It’s a common misconception that ED doesn’t affect your wider life or impact your health, and it’s a private problem you should keep to yourself, but you shouldn’t. ED can sometimes be an early indicator of a wider health issue, and speaking to your doctor may help you take early preventative action. Future you will thank you.

What health problems can cause ED - and why?

Sometimes you’ll already know if you’re suffering from an illness which can lead to ED. These are usually long term illnesses, such as diabetes, or neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. Suffering from a serious brain or spinal injury may affect your nervous system and cause ED, as might surgery around your pelvis or surrounding areas. But sometimes ED is the first symptom of a bigger illness, such as:

Illnesses affecting your heart and blood vessels

You experience ED if for any reason, blood isn’t flowing properly to the penis. This is often caused by a problem with the blood vessels. Because the blood vessels in your penis are so much smaller than those in the rest of your body, if you have a problem with blood flow you’ll notice it here first. It’s like looking at your cardiovascular health with a magnifying glass - problems can show up as ED first because the margin of error is far smaller.

This problem is known medically as atherosclerosis - where the arteries become blocked. This blockage is usually caused by cholesterol build up. On a bigger scale, atherosclerosis can lead to angina, or even a heart attack. If blood vessels become blocked in your brain, it can lead to a stroke, memory loss or dementia. Of course, we’re not saying that if you experience ED a couple of times this is definitely what’s going on - but it’s better to get it checked out and be on the safe side.

Illnesses affecting your hormones

It may be that your erectile dysfunction is being caused by a hormonal problem. Having low testosterone levels (hypogonadism) is the best known hormonal trigger of ED, but it’s not the only one, and they’re not as strongly linked as you might think. If you believe your testosterone levels are low, you should speak to your doctor who can confirm this with blood tests. Hyper- and hypothyroidism (sometimes known as having an over or under active thyroid) are lesser known potential causes of ED. Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in your neck which releases hormones that control your metabolism. Hyperthyroidism causes a high metabolism, and hypothyroidism causes it to slow down. These hormones also control functions like heart rate and blood pressure, which can have a ripple effect and lead to ED.

Long or short term mental health conditions

You shouldn’t overlook the impact of mental health if you’re experiencing ED. You also shouldn’t undervalue the importance of mental health in your life. Psychological causes of ED are more common among younger men, but they can occur at any age. Short term problems, such as work related stress, anxiety caused by having a new sexual partner, or guilt over relationship difficulties can cause problems to occur in the bedroom. But ED can also be a sign of a more long term problem, such as depression. Depression is a serious health problem which can affect all areas of your life, not just your mood, and if you’re feeling less interested in sex and other activities you used to enjoy, this might be the cause.

It’s important to discuss your problems with a doctor if you’re experiencing ED. It’s a good barometer for your health, and may help you identify serious health problems before they affect your life too much. Once you know what the cause of your ED is, you can tackle the root problem. In the majority of cases, identifying the underlying problem will allow you to use a solution such as Viagra with confidence. You can now buy Viagra Connect over the counter without a prescription, or even via a monthly subscription service such as Eddie, to solve your ED worries quickly and discreetly.

Content Marketing Officer
Content Marketing Officer
Libby Mayfield

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