Erectile dysfunction is a form of male sexual dysfunction where the penis cannot become erect or fails to maintain an erection. While occasional instances of erectile dysfunction are not a significant cause for concern, frequent occurrences can negatively affect self-image and other psychological areas.
The regulation of erections relies on numerous systems, including blood vessels, muscles, nerves, hormones, and psychological factors. Erectile dysfunction is often caused or worsened by stress or other mental health factors.
Physical causes are typically related to an inability to supply sufficient blood flow to the penis to maintain an erection. These can include various types of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Low testosterone is another common cause, especially in older men.
Many lifestyle factors affect the extent and severity of erectile dysfunction. For example, tobacco use is known to limit blood flow and can cause erectile dysfunction. Many prescribed medications can also lead to the condition, such as medication for high blood pressure and antidepressants.