Posible causes of ED

More than 30 million men older than 50 in the United States are affected by some degree of ED (erectile dysfunction). And nearly 70% of these cases of ED have physical causes.

These causes can include health conditions, injury, and medicine side effects. Psychological factors can also play a role in causing ED. The chart below shows the most common conditions and factors that can lead to ED. This is not a complete list.

Possible Physical Causes of ED

High blood pressure (also called hypertension)
High blood pressure can lead to damage to the blood vessels, which results in decreased blood flow. Not enough blood flows into the penis to get a firm erection.

Diabetes (high blood sugar)
Diabetes can increase the risk for having ED. Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves in the penis.

High blood cholesterol
Over time, high blood cholesterol can cause blood vessels in the penis to narrow. Not enough blood flows into the penis to give a firm erection.

Nerve diseases
Men with diseases that affect the nerves, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, are at a higher risk for having ED. The penis does not receive nerve messages from the brain or spinal cord. Without the nerve messages, blood does not flow into the penis. Injuries or surgery to the pelvic area Injuries or surgery to the pelvic area (especially prostate and rectal surgery) can damage nerves or blood vessels in the penis.

Low hormone levels
Low male hormone levels (such as testosterone) can decrease a man’s desire for sex and affect his ability to get an erection. Men with thyroid hormone levels that are too low or too high can also have ED. ED as a possible side effect of medicine

Taking certain medicines may cause ED as a side effect.
Medicines that can cause ED include:

  • Some medicines that treat high blood pressure, depression, or psychiatric conditions
  • Antihistamines
  • Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including herbal supplements. And always talk with your doctor before you stop taking any medicines that your doctor has prescribed.
Lifestyle factors
Certain lifestyle factors may increase the risk for getting ED, such as:
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Not being physically active
  • Using recreational drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin



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