Erectile dysfunction is the inability of getting an erection firm enough to engage in sexual intercourse. Previously referred to as impotence, although this term is not used anymore. Occasional erectile dysfunction isn’t uncommon. Research shows that many men experience it when stressed. If frequent it can be a sign of health problems that need treatment. It can also be a sign of emotional or relationship difficulties that may need to be addressed by a professional.
Erections are the result of increased blood flow into the penis, caused usually by sexual thoughts or direct contact with the penis. When sexually excited, muscles in the penis relax. This allows for increased blood flow through the penile arteries, filling two chambers with blood, making the penis grow rigid. An erection ends when the muscles contract and the accumulated blood can flow out through the penile veins.
There are many possible causes, and they can include both emotional and physical conditions. Common causes include:
low testosterone levels or other hormone imbalances
certain prescription medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure
pressure or depression
consuming too much alcohol
using tobacco products
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause. You may need to use a combination of treatments, including medication or talk therapy. Your doctor may recommend medication to help you manage the symptoms. You may need to try several medications before you find one that works. Oral medications that help treat erectile dysfunction