Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. It’s also sometimes referred to as impotence.
Occasional ED isn’t uncommon. Many men experience it during times of stress. Frequent ED 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.
Not all male sexual problems are caused by ED. Other types of male sexual dysfunction include:
- Premature ejaculation
- Delayed or absent ejaculation
- Lack of interest in sex
Physical factors that can cause erectile dysfunction include:
- General aging
- Prostate disease
- High blood pressure
- Under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
- Some medicines
- Cardiovascular disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Smoking, alcoholism or other substance abuse
- Peyronie’s disease
- Sleep disorders
- Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
- Surgery that affects the pelvic area or spinal cord
- Spinal cord injuries.
Psychological factors that can cause erectile dysfunction include:
- Unresolved problems, conflicts or issues within a sexual and emotional relationship.
- Anxiety about sexual performance (this is most common at the start of a new relationship, if a man has had previous problems with sexual performance).