Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

It is very important to understand ED, mainly for those who are considering fertility treatment. Let’s understand the causes, diagnosis, and treatment options.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection enough for intercourse. It may be caused by vascular causes, neurological causes, psychiatric disorders, and physical trauma. An individual needs to visit a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and necessary treatment.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a penile disorder that affects your ability to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity.

Emotions play a major role in the ability to achieve and maintain an erection. Erection problems are expected when feeling nervous, anxious, frustrated, or exhausted. It is important to feel relaxed, confident and aroused.

Alcohol use and drug abuse are additional factors that can impact erectile function. Also, ED can be a result of other health conditions and a side effect of some medications or cancer treatments.

If you struggle with erection issues, it’s best to seek further evaluation with a healthcare provider.

At times, ED may be an early symptom of another health condition. For example, ED may be a warning sign of heart disease. For this reason, it is important to discuss any erection difficulty with a healthcare provider.

Erectile dysfunction is also called:

– Impotence

– Impotency

What are the types of erectile dysfunction?

There are several categories of erectile dysfunction that healthcare providers use to classify ED.

Vascular erectile dysfunction

This type refers to the blood vessels that may become inflamed or have a clot that prevents blood from flowing to the penile tissues. The flow may be adequate, but the valves in the penis don’t trap blood. Vascular ED is the most common type of erectile dysfunction.

Neurogenic erectile dysfunction

Neurogenic ED results from problems with the nervous system that impair the ability of signals to move from the brain to the penis. These may be due to trauma, surgery in the pelvic area, radiation therapy, or medical conditions that impair circulation or neurologic systems, including stroke, spinal stenosis, and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Hormonal erectile dysfunction

Hormonal ED is the result of hormonal imbalances. The most common is a lack of testosterone, but there may also be thyroid imbalances.

Psychogenic erectile dysfunction

Psychogenic ED results from psychological factors that affect your thoughts, emotions, or behavior and impair your ability to get or maintain an erection.

How common is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most frequently reported sex-related condition among men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB). Its prevalence increases with age and the development of other health issues.

What is the usual age for erectile dysfunction? 

Medical experts project that more than 50% of men ranging from 40 to 70 years, experience ED. The actual occurrence may be higher as many of the people involved do not seek medical help out of embarrassment or shame.

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Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

  • Occasionally being able to get an erection before sexual intercourse.
  • Being able to get an erection before having sex but not maintaining the erection during sexual intercourse.
  • Complete inability to achieve an erection.
  • Requiring extensive effort to achieve an erection.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction can be due to various factors that affect different systems in your body:

Circulatory System

The circulatory system comprises blood vessels that transport blood around the body, including the penis. Good circulation is essential to achieve an erection. The penis also comprises valves that close and trap blood inside it; sometimes, the valves don’t function correctly.

Nervous System

This system includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, which send electrical impulses necessary for movement and sensation, including those needed for an erection.

Endocrine System

The endocrine system is made up of glands that manufacture and release hormones. These hormones control body functions, including testosterone which allows the blood vessels to expand, to have a proper blood supply to the penis.

Factors contributing to ED

Diseases or Other Medical Conditions

– Diabetes and related neuropathy

– High blood pressure (hypertension)

– High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)

– Vascular disease

– Chronic kidney disease

– Atherosclerosis

– Peyronie’s disease

– Low testosterone (testosterone deficiency)

– Stroke

– Epilepsy


– Penile fracture

– Injuries to the pelvic bones (hip bones, sacrum, and tailbone), bladder, prostate, and the spinal cord

– Pelvic surgeries such as prostate, colon, or bladder cancer surgery

– Radiation therapy

How is Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?

A doctor will diagnose ED and determine its cause by taking a thorough medical history and conducting a physical examination. The doctor will also ask you about your personal and sexual history.

While such questions can be embarrassing, it’s important to answer honestly so the doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor may ask questions including:

– Are you taking any medications, including prescription, over-the-counter, herbal supplements, dietary supplements, or nonmedical drugs?

– Have you been diagnosed with depression or anxiety by a healthcare provider?

– Are you often under a lot of stress?

– Are you facing any relationship issues?

– How often are you able to get an erection?

– How firm are your erections?

– How long can you maintain an erection?

– Do you lose your erection due to premature ejaculation?

– When did you first notice ED symptoms?

– What occurred when you first experienced ED symptoms?

– Do you experience erections at night or in the morning?

– What sexual positions do you regularly use?

Management and Treatment

What is the best way to fix erectile dysfunction?

The first step in treating erectile dysfunction (ED) is identifying the underlying cause. A healthcare provider can help determine the most appropriate treatment for you. We at Banker Ivf listen to all of your needs.

Treatment options may include:

Cardiovascular Exercise

Up to 45 minutes of intense cardiovascular exercises three days a week, such as walking briskly, running, swimming, biking, or jumping rope. Many cases of mild ED can be reversed with cardiovascular exercises.

Quitting Smoking

For men with mild ED, quitting smoking can lead to improvement within several months.

Sex Therapy

Sex therapy can help address the psychological causes of ED

Oral Medications

Medications like sildenafil (Viagra®), vardenafil (Levitra®), tadalafil (Cialis®), or avanafil (Stendra®) enhance the effect of nitric oxide (NO) in the body to increase blood flow to the penis. They typically work within an hour.

Low-Intensity Focused Shockwave Therapy (LiSWT) for the Penis

This is a non-invasive therapy using sound waves to increase blood flow to the penis. Improvements may be seen after two months from the first treatment.

Injectable Medications

Alprostadil (Caverject®), papaverine (Papacon®) and phentolamine (Regitine®) or any combination of these drugs can be directly injected into the base of the penis. This will produce an erection within ten minutes. 

Vacuum Constriction Device (Penis Pump)

Penis pumps can induce an erection almost immediately.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Available as a gel, injection, patches, or pellets, this therapy can start to show effects within four weeks.

Penile Implant Procedure

This surgical option includes inserting a device in the penis to achieve an erection. The implant will not alter the sensation, urination, or orgasm.


Can ED be prevented?

Yes, certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing erectile dysfunction. These include:

  • Lowering cholesterol levels
  • Increasing physical activity, especially cardiovascular exercises like running, jogging, or cycling
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting high-quality sleep
  • Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fats
  • Quitting smoking 
  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption

For more information, visit Banker IVFthe best IVF centre in India, or consult a healthcare provider. We are always here to support you on your journey to better health and well-being, especially to help you overcome infertility challenges. Our state-of-the-art facilities and globally acclaimed expertise ensure you receive the highest standard of care.

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