Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when a man has trouble getting, or keeping, an erection. You might hear it referred to as impotence. It’s a common condition, which can affect you at any age.
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ED can be triggered by both physical causes and emotional or mental factors like depression, anxiety or relationship problems.
On the physical side, ED is usually caused by the narrowing of blood vessels to the penis, which reduces the blood flow needed to get an erection. This could be a symptom of another health condition. Other physical causes include hormonal problems and surgery or injury.
ED can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. You should get tested for high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol to find out if they’re causing your ED. You should also take a blood test to measure your testosterone, thyroid and prolactin levels.
Smoking and alcohol may also make it harder for you to get an erection.
If your ED is a symptom of another medical condition, simple lifestyle changes can help you improve both your health and your sex life. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help improve conditions like obesity and high blood pressure. Stopping smoking, cutting alcohol and managing stress will also help.
ED and premature ejaculation (PE) can both affect your sex life but they’re not the same condition. If you’re affected by PE you come sooner than you, or your partner, would like. If this is happening to you, we can help you get the premature ejaculation treatment you need.
Page last reviewed by: Dr. Christina Hennessey 21/06/2021