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10 Common Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) You Should Know

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the continual failure to achieve or maintain an erection required for satisfactory sexual performance. While once ED reasons were believed to be primarily caused by psychological factors, it is now understood that physical issues, particularly those related to blood flow to the penis, are often responsible. While occasional difficulties with erections are normal, if it occurs more frequently, affecting sexual performance, it may be a sign of ED. Seeking medical help is recommended in such cases. According to studies, healthy sexual function is possible well into one's 80s, but what causes ED in men is influenced by various factors, including vascular conditions, neurological disorders, mental health issues, and injuries. In this blog we will delve into what are the main causes of ed.

Book an Appointment with Dr.Collins For all Erectile Dysfunction (ED) related concerns.

10 Things that cause erectile dysfunction

Common Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

1. The Link Between High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, and Erectile Dysfunction

High blood pressure and heart disease share a familiar foe: narrowed arteries due to plaque buildup, which is one of the leading causes of ED. This narrowing restricts blood flow, impacting various parts of the body, including the penis, during attempts to achieve an erection. In many cases, erectile dysfunction (ED) serves as an early indicator of high blood pressure and heart disease.

2. Body Weight and Erectile Dysfunction: The Impact of BMI on Men's Sexual Health

Maintaining an ideal Body Mass Index is essential for overall well-being. A BMI between 20 and 25 is healthy, while individuals fall into the overweight category with a BMI of 26 to 29, and medical obesity is calculated at a BMI of 30 or higher. Studies have proved the link between obesity and erectile dysfunction (ED). Men with a BMI of 28 or more are found to have a 30% increased risk of ED, according to research. Additionally, a separate study revealed that 31% of obese men with ED regained sexual function through weight loss and increased physical activity. These findings highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle for optimal sexual health.

3. The Impact of Medications

Medications can sometimes contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED) as a side effect. Various types of drugs, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, heartburn medication, beta blockers for high blood pressure, diuretics, and painkillers, have been identified as potential causes for erectile dysfunction. It's important to discuss any medications you're taking with your doctor, as they may be able to suggest alternatives that could alleviate your ED symptoms. Switching to a different medication might be worth exploring to see if it improves your condition.

4. Diabetes as the cause of erectile dysfunction

Diabetes, a chronic condition affecting blood sugar levels, can have significant implications on men's sexual health. According to research, 58% of men with diabetes report experiencing frequent or occasional erectile dysfunction (ED). This condition may arise due to poorly controlled blood sugars, which can damage the blood vessels or nerves essential for healthy sexual function. Additionally, underlying health issues such as high blood pressure or obesity can exacerbate the risk of ED among individuals with diabetes.

5. The Correlation Between Tobacco Use and Erectile Dysfunction

Tobacco use, mainly smoking cigarettes, has been linked to an increased possibility of erectile dysfunction (ED) among men aged 40 to 69. Those who smoked were found to have nearly double the risk of experiencing moderate or complete ED within the following decade. However, there is hope, as quitting smoking can significantly decrease the risk of ED and potentially lower the risk of various other health conditions, including certain types of cancer. It's never too late to quit smoking and improve your health and well-being.

6. The Psychological Impact: Depression's Influence on Erectile Function

Depression can have a significant impact on erectile dysfunction (ED) and vice versa, as indicated by various studies. Research suggests that depression can be one of the leading ED causes, and experiencing ED can, in turn, increase the risk of depression, creating a potentially harmful cycle. Additionally, factors such as stress, anxiety, or relationship conflicts can affect erectile function and diminish sexual desire. Seeking couples counseling or sex therapy may prove to be an effective treatment for addressing these issues and improving overall sexual health.

7. Low Testosterone and Its Impact on Sexual Health

Low testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, plays a vital role in various bodily functions. When testosterone levels plummet below the normal range, it can lead to erectile dysfunction. Certain factors like unexplained anemia, bone density loss, diabetes, exposure to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, HIV, or chronic drug use can increase the risk of low testosterone and ED.

Symptoms include reduced energy, endurance, visual changes, depression, reduced motivation, poor concentration, memory impairment, irritability, decreased sex drive, and changes in erectile function. Diagnosis involves a blood test administered by a doctor, and if necessary, testosterone replacement therapy can be prescribed to address the condition.

8. Physical Inactivity and Erectile Dysfunction: What You Need to Know

Lack of physical activity has been earmarked as an independent cause of erectile dysfunction. If regular physical activity is not part of your daily routine, incorporating activities like walking can be a beneficial starting point.

9. Dietary Habits and Their Impact on Male Sexual Health

A recent study discovered a significant correlation between dietary choices cause of erectile dysfunction . The research revealed that men who closely adhered to a Mediterranean diet have a lowered risk of ED across all age groups. This underscores the importance of dietary habits as one of many reasons for ED.

10. The Intricate Connection: Sleep Apnea and Its Link to ED

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep-breathing disorder wherein repeated pauses in breathing during sleep lead to fragmented sleep patterns. This condition disrupts the natural sleep cycle, causing individuals to wake briefly before falling back asleep, often hundreds of times throughout the night. OSA not only impairs sleep quality but also poses risks for various health issues such as mood changes, diabetes, weight gain, and high blood pressure. Additionally, it has been linked to erectile dysfunction (ED). A study found that 75% of men with both ED and OSA experienced improvements in their ED symptoms after just one month of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment for their sleep apnea.


Dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED) can be challenging as it often involves various contributing factors. A thorough lifestyle and health assessment can help identify what is the main cause of your ED, while medical tests can pinpoint any medical causes. Fortunately, addressing ED not only improves sexual function but can also enhance overall health and well-being. To explore solutions for erectile dysfunction, consider consulting with Dr.Collins at Proactive Choice (858) 333-5196 for specialized assistance tailored to your needs.

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About The Author: Dr. Collins

Author: Dr. Collins

Dr. Collins is a Pacific Northwest native and University of Oregon graduate in biology and comparative religions, practicing Naturopathic Medicine. Committed to harmonizing ancient traditions with modern science, he prioritizes holistic patient care in Oregon.



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