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What is ED ?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common male sexual disorder. It is the inability to get or keep an erection that allows for satisfying sexual activity. It can happen occasionally or regularly, with or without any clear reason. Some men with ED are not able to get an erection at all.
ED is not a life-threatening disorder, but it can have a negative impact on your quality of life and that of your partner.
How common is ED ?
ED is a common condition in men of all ages and ethnicities. The risk of having ED increases with age.
What causes ED ?
A common cause of ED is heart disease. Other common causes are :
Nerve damage to the penis or the pelvic area
Radiation therapy to the pelvic area
Low levels of testosterone
Neurologic disease, like Parkinson’s
Cardiovascular disease and ED
ED and cardiovascular disease share common risk factors, like obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and lack of exercise. ED can be an early sign of heart disease because problems with blood flow affect erectile function. This is why men who experience ED should go to the doctor to get checked for heart disease.
Urinary symptoms and ED
ED is often associated with urinary symptoms, such as urinary frequency, nocturia, and urgency. Often these symptoms are related to benign prostatic enlargement (BPE). It is unclear if the urinary symptoms cause ED, but generally ED gets worse when urinary symptoms worsen.
Psychological risk factors for ED
Several psychological conditions have been associated with ED. These include:
Feelings of self-inadequacy
Low self esteem
Inability to describe emotions
Social ideas of how men and women are supposed to interact can also contribute to ED. These can include unrealistic expectations about love and sexuality, and inappropriate male and female role models.
ED is sometimes the cause and sometimes the result of unsatisfying or dysfunctional relationships. It is often difficult to find out which started first.
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