Erectile Dysfunction: Causes, Symptoms, Risks and Treatment

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By Dr. Pradeep Kolhe, Sexology

Erectile dysfunction is referred to the inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough for a satisfactory sexual intercourse. ED can surface on a few occasions, which is perfectly fine. There are certain factors, such as stress that can lead to a temporary dysfunction. But if it becomes a chronic disorder, it should be medically attended to without any further delay.

Causes and risks:

Erectile dysfunction can occur due to numerous physical or psychological factors. The causes of erectile dysfunction are as follows:

  1. Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of some underlying medical condition such as hypertension, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, diabetes, anemia, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. If you are undergoing any treatment for prostate cancer or recently had a surgery in the pelvic region, you might be prone to suffering from the disorder.
  2. The human brain is the organ that initiates and stimulates an erection. Hence, any form of psychological trauma, anxiety or stress might trigger erectile dysfunction. Also, Erectile dysfunction might occur if you are sexually averse towards your partner (i.e., at a subconscious level).
  3. Excessive alcohol or tobacco consumption over a prolonged period of time can be a cause of this disorder. This is because smoking tobacco and excessive drinking restricts the necessary flow of blood to the arteries and veins, thus preventing a proper erection.
  4. Erectile dysfunction might also occur as a result of side effects of medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants.
  5. If you have suffered any injury in the nerves and arteries that regulate erection, you might be left vulnerable to this disease.


The symptoms of erectile dysfunction are:

  1. Significant problems while getting and subsequently maintaining an erection
  2. A hampered sex drive over a prolonged period of time


Depending on the cause and severity of the disorder, the following treatments can be implemented:

  1. A prescribed dosage of oral medications such as Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Stendra or Levitra might help to increase the blood flow to the penis.
  2. In some cases, prescribed dosages of injectable medications such as papaverine, phentolamine etc. can be administered.
  3. You can also opt for Testosterone replacement procedures if the erectile dysfunction occurs due to low secretion of testosterone hormone in the body.
  4. In extreme cases, if all the other methods fail, surgery of the concerned arteries or penile implants can help.