Simply put, erectile dysfunction is a man’s inability to have or maintain an erection. Nearly 30 million men in the United States have been diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. And while it’s a fairly common health concern for men, especially those who are age 65 and older, erectile dysfunction surprisingly isn’t a normal part of aging. Nearly everyone has an occasional lapse in performance, however, most men are unwilling to talk about it, even with their urologists.

Identifying the cause of erectile dysfunction is the first step toward diagnosis – and treatment. The good news is that there are a variety of solutions that can address and treat erectile dysfunction. Here are some causes of erectile dysfunction and solutions to address them.

Low Testosterone

One in three men who have erectile dysfunction reportedly have low testosterone. Primarily produced in the testes, testosterone is the hormone that fuels a man’s sex drive. When testosterone levels are low, it can reduce a man’s sexual ability. If you are diagnosed with low testosterone, your doctor may prescribe testosterone therapy, which could include injections or medication, as well as lifestyle changes such as an improved diet or exercise program.

Traumatic Brain Injury

The brain controls everything, so when the brain is injured, it prevents messages from being properly transmitted to other parts of the body. The penis is no different. Traumatic brain injuries, as well as trauma to the spine and nervous system, often impact a man’s ability to get or maintain an erection. If this is the case, your doctor may recommend medication, but he also may recommend seeing a therapist or other mental health care professional if the trauma has resulted in depression or feelings of inadequacy that impact performance.

Trauma to the Pelvic Area

Trauma to the pelvic area or penis will have the same result as if blood supply is interrupted or nerves are damaged. Erectile dysfunction that occurs as a result of pelvic or perineal trauma can be treatable with revascularization which, in a sense, is a surgical strategy that doctors use to place new blood vessels around existing blockages to restore necessary blood flow.

Vascular Disease

Vascular diseases reduce the amount of blood flow to organs, including sexual organs. In 50-70 percent of men who have erectile dysfunction, poor blood flow or vascular diseases is the underlying cause. Treatments available for vascular disease can be effective in eliminating erectile dysfunction. Your doctor will diagnose the condition and then prescribe treatment, which may include medication to address blood flow. Other lifestyle changes might also be suggested by the health care professional. Smoking for instance, has a negative effect and can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Underlying Conditions

Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of another condition. Address that condition and the erectile dysfunction will also be addressed.  Clogged blood vessels, high blood pressure, diabetes, nerve damage, HIV and cancer are all relatable causes of erectile dysfunction.

Dr. Desiderio (Desi) Avila, Jr., is a fellowship-trained urologist who specializes in male infertility, low testosterone, prostate health, and erectile dysfunction. If you live or work in the greater Phoenix area, call Ironwood Urology to request an appointment with Dr. Avila. He will assess your situation and prescribe a treatment plan to meet your urological issues. You may request an appointment at Ironwood Urology, by calling 480-961-2323 or request an appointment online.