What Are the Most Common Causes of Erectile Dysfunction?

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Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, means that you cannot get or maintain a proper erection. London Urology provides specialist care in treating erectile dysfunction; some of the most common causes are listed below.

What Physical Causes Are there for Erectile Dysfunction?

These account for about 80% of cases, and usually the ED will develop gradually. Physical causes include:

• Reduced blood flow to the penis – the most common cause of ED in men over the age of 40. The arteries which take blood to the penis can become narrowed, meaning that the blood flow may then not be sufficient for an erection.
• Injury to nerves going to the penis – this is most commonly caused by surgery to structures near to the penis, spinal surgery, a fractured pelvis, or radiotherapy to the genital area.
• Diseases which affect the nerves going to the penis – such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke.
• Side-effect of certain medicines – some antidepressants have been known to cause ED.
• Alcohol / drug abuse
• Cycling – after long distance cycling, due to pressure on the nerves going to the penis, from sitting on the saddle for long periods.

What Causes The Reduced Blood Flow to The Penis?

About 70% of ED cases are caused by reduced blood flow to the penis, due to narrowing of the small arteries in the penis. What causes narrowing of the arteries are fatty patches or plaques that develop within the inside lining of arteries called atheroma.

The following are risk factors for developing atheroma:

• Smoking – one of the biggest risk factors for developing an atheroma-related condition is smoking. It also doubles your chance of developing erectile dysfunction.
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Obesity
• Inactivity
• Poor diet
• Alcohol excess
• Diabetes

What Are The Psychological Causes?

Usually, if erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological issues, it will develop suddenly and may resolve when mental state improves. Causes include:

• Stress
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Relationship difficulties

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If you have any queries or would like to book an appointment with our expert Erectile Dysfunction Consultants, call us on 020 7432 8297 or email

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