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Erection problems happen mostly with men. What causes it and what is happening in the body?

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Before going directly into the topic, firstly, it is necessary to comprehend the mechanism of erection, because small fault due to different factors in the mechanism gives rise to its dysfunction.

An erection is a complex process. It involves the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, psychological and psychological factors, local factors with the erection bodies or the penis itself, as well as hormonal and vascular components.

When stimuli relating to sex are generated from different sources like touch, smell, visual,etc,they travel from the brain to the nerve centers at the base of the spine, where primary nerve fibers connect to the penis and regulate blood flow during erections and afterward.

Sexual stimulation causes the release of chemicals from the nerve endings in the penis that trigger a series of events that ultimately cause muscle relaxation in the erection bodies of the penis. The smooth muscle in the erection bodies controls the flow of blood into the penis. When the smooth muscle relaxes, the blood flow dramatically increases, and the erection bodies become full and rigid, resulting in an erection. Venous drainage channels are compressed and close off as the erection bodies enlarge.

So disruption in the any steps of the mechanism is responsible for erection dysfunction. The causes of erection dysfunction can be broadly classified as:

1.Psychological (mental) factors
2.Physical factors

  1. Psychological factors

    • Depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions
    • Stress
    • Relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns
    • feeling nervous about or self-conscious about sex
  2. Physical factors

    • Heart disease
    • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
    • High cholesterol
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Metabolic syndrome — a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol
    • Parkinson's disease
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Peyronie's disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
    • Certain prescription medications
    • Tobacco use
    • Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse
    • Sleep disorders
    • Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate
    • Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
  3. Hormonal factors
    • Low level of testosterone
    • High level of prolactin

References

  1. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/causes_of_erectile_dysfunction/article_em.htm

  2. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/5702.php

  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/basics/causes/con-20034244

  4. https://www.urologicalcare.com/erectile-dysfunction/ed-common-causes/

  5. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/erectile-dysfunction

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