What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?


The majority of ED cases are caused by underlying medical conditions that may or may not have been diagnosed. Dr. Fenig will take a complete medical history and perform a full physical exam to identify and diagnose any medical conditions that may be causing your erectile dysfunction.

Common conditions that can cause erectile dysfunction include:

          -Diabetes, which can cause damage to the nerves or blood vessels that control the flow of blood to the penis.

          -Cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or high cholesterol which causes plaque buildup in the arteries. This build-up decreases blood flow to the penis through blocked arteries or leaking veins, resulting in erectile dysfunction.

          -Obesity can cause erectile dysfunction by causing hormonal abnormalities, decreased sex drive or libido, or by negatively affecting blood vessels.

          -Sleep apnea has been strongly associated with erectile dysfunction.  Often sleep studies and treatment for sleep apnea, such as CPAP, may help men obtain better erections by increasing the flow of oxygen through the blood stream and raising men’s energy level and libido through more restful sleep

          -Trauma or surgery of the prostate, bladder, colon or rectal area can damage nerves and cause ED.

          -Spinal cord injuries can stop nerve impulses from reaching the penis.

          -Some medications can interfere with blood flow to the penis, especially those for high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues.

          -Hormone problems caused by kidney or liver failure can cause erectile dysfunction. Low testosterone, or hypogonadism, can also play a role in the development of ED.

          -Alcohol and recreational drugs can affect your ability to achieve or sustain and erection, as can smoking.

Learn about treatment options for erectile dysfunction here.