Explanations for Erectile Dysfunction

by | Jun 12, 2022 | Issue 149, Issues | 0 comments

Erectile dysfunction is a sensitive issue for the men who experience it, but that's precisely why we should take a moment to learn about the causes and treatment of erectile...

Erectile dysfunction is a sensitive issue for the men who experience it, but that’s precisely why we should take a moment to learn about the causes and treatment of erectile dysfunction. 

A recent study suggests that 1 in 10 men will have erectile dysfunction at some point in their lifetime. While the ailment typically affects older men, there has recently been a rise in erectile dysfunction reported in younger segments of the population. This is why it is vital to understand this element of sexual health.


Does Pornography Have an Impact?

Some experts believe that the widespread use of pornography affects this dimension of sexual health. Recent studies indicate that 40% of Americans regularly visit porn sites, but does this impact the erectile dysfunction phenomenon? It seems like the answer is yes. Men who consume pornography often require increased sexual stimulation to achieve levels of arousal that used to be more easily attainable.

While the problem of erectile dysfunction is not simple enough to be solved by abstinence from pornography, it should be considered as a factor. The amount of dopamine that the brain releases in an encounter with pornography is significant, and real-life sexual experiences that used to be profoundly arousing can lose their novelty when competing with internet pornography. If you or a loved one struggles with erectile dysfunction, consider addressing this aspect.


What Are the Physical Explanations?

While pornography use can be called a psychological factor, many physical factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Some of them can be resolved through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise adjustments, while others are more complex: 

  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol;
  • Stress and anxiety, especially an unusual amount resulting from a life change;
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol or tobacco products;
  • Hormone imbalances, such as low testosterone;
  • Cardiovascular disease or kidney disease;
  • Damage to the pelvic area, primarily through injury or surgery.

Many of these physical factors can also cause problems other than erectile dysfunction. Therefore, any one of them is worth discussing with your doctor. In addition to a physical exam, multiple kinds of tests can be used to investigate any physical conditions relating to a patient’s erectile dysfunction: ultrasounds, injection tests, urine tests and blood tests.


Can Emotional Health Play a Role?

While a doctor can run the tests listed above to determine any physical explanations, there may also be a psychological component to a patient’s erectile dysfunction. The most common psychological culprit is anxiety. Men who have experienced erectile dysfunction in the past can become excessively worried about future occurrences, leading to what is commonly called performance anxiety.

Another common emotional cause of erectile dysfunction is depression. Anxiety and depression can impact your body by reducing the amount of testosterone it naturally produces

Another emotional dimension of erectile dysfunction for many men is relationship issues. It will probably come as no surprise that relationship troubles can affect sexual desire and sexual function.

Just as these emotional factors are more complicated than the physical conditions described above, their treatment options are unfamiliar to many. If depression is at the root of erectile dysfunction, a prescription medication designed to treat depression or anxiety might be the solution. Talk therapy also works for many patients seeking to resolve emotional health struggles, especially in relationship issues where a professional couples counselor acts as a facilitator of conversation.


A Parting Reminder

Erectile dysfunction can result from various health issues. Pornography usage, physical factors and emotional struggles all play a role in causing erectile dysfunction, and it often takes careful attention to determine the root of the problem. Stay informed about the causes and treatment options, and consult your doctor if you or a loved one is affected.

Nathan Pipkin

Nathan Pipkin