ERECTIONS ∙ 1 minute read

Five reasons you might not be able to get an erection

By Duncan Fisher

Having problems getting an erection? Our experts at Numan look at the possible causes of erectile dysfunction in men.

1. You’re living with too much alcohol, tobacco, or drug use

This is the lifestyle category. Alcohol abuse is associated with sexual dysfunction, notably by raising your likelihood of cardiovascular disease and nerve damage. Smoking damages blood vessels too, and is highly linked to ED according to the scientific literature. Recreational drugs are pretty much a bad idea too. We’ve written about them in detail here.

2. You’ve got a medical condition

There’s enormous variety in possible physical causes of ED. Your doctor will check for conditions that include:

  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • heart conditions
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Peyronie’s disease

3. You’re on some kind of medication

The list of prescription drug types that can interfere with your erectile function is a lengthy one. It includes:  

  • pain-killers (especially opiates)
  • tranquilisers (especially benzodiazepines)
  • antidepressants
  • antihistamines
  • medications for high blood pressure
  • antipsychotics
  • diuretics
  • hormone regulators
  • chemotherapy agents

It’s always advisable to speak to your doctor before stopping your medication, even if you think it’s the culprit behind your ED.

4. You’ve had an injury or a medical treatment

Sometimes you get hurt. After an accident involving a fractured pelvis, there’s a chance that the relevant internal anatomy needed for healthy erections might get damaged. Certain surgical procedures can unintentionally increase your chances of of erectile dysfunction as well.  Prostatectomy is a good example. It can even happen after prostatic radiation therapy.

5. It’s psychological

Your feelings shouldn’t be underplayed. Stress, anxiety, and depression have a biochemical basis - they’re known mediators of sex drive. A sense of shame or failure in bed can also add to stress, anxiety, and depression, which can loop back again to increase anxiety and/or lower the sex drive even further.

The bottom line

Erectile dysfunction isn’t a diagnosis by itself. It’s a sign of problems elsewhere, possibly in your lifestyle, your medical history, or your mental well-being. Whatever the cause, it is worth investigating if erectile dysfunction begins to interfere with your life.

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