Do I Have Erectile Dysfunction? Common Causes and Treatment Options for ED

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can often cause a lot of questions to circle through a man’s brain. “Why me?” “What’s causing this?” “What can I do about it?”

ED is when a man has difficulty maintaining or achieving an erection to be able to have sexual intercourse or achieve an orgasm. At least 50 percent of all men between the ages of 40 to 70 will experience ED. The condition can increase with age.

The truth is, there are many different reasons that a man might experience ED. The first step in finding a solution is consulting with your Philadelphia urologist.

Here are a few of the reasons you could be experiencing ED:


Endocrine diseases

The endocrine system is the vital system that produces hormones that regulate metabolism, reproduction, mood, and yes, sexual functioning.

One example of an endocrine disease that could be causing issues is diabetes. A side effect of diabetes is damage to nerves that affect sensations in the penis. Diabetes can also impair blood flow and hormone levels involved in achieving an erection. If diabetes is suspected, you need to see your doctor for further testing to get a diagnosis.


Neurological and nerve disorders

Both neurological and nerve conditions can affect the brain’s ability to communicate with the penis, preventing a man from being able to maintain an erection.

Such conditions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Brain or spinal tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy

Men who have had surgery on the prostate gland may also experience nerve damage resulting in impotence.


Cardiac conditions

Any condition affecting the heart can and does affect the penis. Without proper blood flow, the penis will have difficulty becoming or remaining erect.

One well-known heart condition is atherosclerosis, which clogs blood vessels leading to ED. Other cardiac conditions associated with impotence include men with high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.



Certain medications can affect blood flow, leading to ED. However, a man should not stop taking a prescribed medication until after he has consulted with his doctor.

Some examples of medications known to cause ED include:

  • Alpha-adrenergic blockers – Flomax
  • Beta-blockers – Coreg and Lopressor
  • Cancer chemotherapy medications – Tagamet
  • Central nervous system depressants – Xanax, Valium, and codeine found in various brand name drugs
  • Diuretics – Lasix and Aldactone
  • Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors – Prozac and Paxil
  • Synthetic hormones – Eligard

Drug abuse or alcohol abuse can also put an abrupt stop to a man’s sexual performance. Men with a substance abuse problem should seek help right away.


Stress or emotional disorders

Any man who is experiencing extreme stress or having emotional issues may find they simply are unable to become sexually aroused. Feelings of depression, fatigue, loss of hope or anxiety can overtake a man’s sex life.

If a man has sexual problems due to stress or emotional issues, again he needs to bring this up to his doctor to find methods of treatment.


Talk to Your Doctor About ED

There is no one type of treatment that is guaranteed to work for everyone when it comes to erectile dysfunction. There are, however, many good options for men experiencing these problems. Treatments for ED can range from over-the-counter preparations, Testosterone Replacement Therapy and oral prescription medications (ie Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and now Staxyn) to Vacuum Erection Devices, Penile Injection Therapy and Penile Implants.

The best way to find the treatment that is best for you is to talk to a urologist. I would be very happy to discuss the evaluation and best treatment options for your ED. You can call 215-563-1199 to schedule a consultation with me or contact us online.

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