Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction

By Kemi Olatunde
It is not so uncommon to hear that some men battle with this issue in the society. In fact, a large percentage of dissolved marriages rest on it. Based on this, it is important to have basic knowledge of it, at least look out for some preventive measures to avoid it

Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.

Having erection trouble from time to time isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.

Taking living healthy through the topic, Deputy Director, Medical Services, Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Tolu Ademujimi explained that it is common in men over the age of 40 noting that it is the inability to get or sustain an erection.


The symptoms according to him is that the man or his partner makes complain about his ability to sustain an erection.

Other symptoms according to www.mayoclinic.org  include persistent:

  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Trouble keeping an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire

When to see a doctor

A family doctor is a good place to start when you have erectile problems. See your doctor if:

  • You have concerns about your erections or you’re experiencing other sexual problems such               as premature or delayed ejaculation
  • You have diabetes, heart disease or another known health condition that might be linked to                 erectile dysfunction
  • You have other symptoms along with erectile dysfunction


According to Dr. Ademujimi;

  1. Phychosocial causes; stress/tiredness, anxiety and excessive alcohol intake.
  2. Uncontrolled high blood pressure: It affects the blood vessels supplying the penus by                 narrowing it.
  3. Uncontrolled diabetes mellatus: It can affect both the blood vessels and velves responsible for erection.
  4. Eating of fatty diet
  5. Overweight
  6. Low testosterone: It is the sexual hormone of the man. It is responsible for the sexual urge in                 man. If it is low, the man will not have a sexual                  urge hence, he won’t have an erection.
  7. Side effect of some drug
  8. Smoking which destroys blood vessels hence it can destroy the blood vessels that supply the                 penis.

Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these. Likewise, stress and mental health concerns can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction.

Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes erectile dysfunction. For instance, a minor physical condition that slows your sexual response might cause anxiety about maintaining an erection. The resulting anxiety can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction.

Physical causes of erectile dysfunction

In many cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by other something physical. Common causes include:

  • Heart disease
  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
  • Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
  • Sleep disorders
  • Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
  • Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord

Psychological causes of erectile dysfunction

The brain plays a key role in triggering the series of physical events that cause an erection, starting with feelings of sexual excitement. A number of things can interfere with sexual feelings and cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. These include:

  • Depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions
  • Stress
  • Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns

Risk factors

As you get older, erections might take longer to develop and might not be as firm. You might need more direct touch to your penis to get and keep an erection.

Various risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Medical conditions, particularly diabetes or heart conditions
  • Tobacco use, which restricts blood flow to veins and arteries, can — over time — cause chronic health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction
  • Being overweight, especially if you’re obese
  • Certain medical treatments, such as prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer
  • Injuries, particularly if they damage the nerves or arteries that control erections
  • Medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines and medications to treat high blood pressure, pain or prostate conditions
  • Psychological conditions, such as stress, anxiety or depression
  • Drug and alcohol use, especially if you’re a long-term drug user or heavy drinker


The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to make healthy lifestyle choices and to manage any existing health conditions. For example:

  • Loose weight
  • Eat healthy diet
  • See your doctor for regular checkups and medical screening tests.
  • Stop smoking, limit or avoid alcohol, and don’t use illegal drugs.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take steps to reduce stress.
  • Get help for anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns.
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