It is not unheard of for a man to have occasional difficulty with his erections. Anytime an erection doesn’t occur or doesn’t sustain can be stressful. If the problem occurs over and over again, a man may struggle with an immense amount of confusion, frustration, or even shame. The challenge in addressing erectile dysfunction is that many different factors could be contributing to the problem. For this reason, the best approach to understanding what is happening is to consult with a urologist. Urologists are specialists who have advanced training that focuses on issues such as male and female fertility issues and conditions like erectile dysfunction.
Here, we discuss some of the lesser-known factors that could contribute to poor erections.
- Anxiety. This factor is somewhat of a catch-22. Studies indicate that men who suffer from anxiety or depression also have a higher likelihood of experiencing ED. In order to get and maintain an erection, the nervous system must be on board. If overactivated or depressed, the nervous system doesn’t work as well to stimulate the erection. What is interesting about anxiety and depression is that these conditions may also be a byproduct of the ED. It is upon the doctor, patient and, as relevant, his partner to work together to mitigate the anxiety associated with erectile problems.
- Poor oral health. Studies into the risks of chronic periodontitis, known as gum disease, reveal that men with this oral condition have higher rates of erectile dysfunction. Periodontitis is an inflammatory condition that alters the body’s natural production of nitric acid as well as blood flow. The decrease in both can affect the strength and onset of an erection.
- Diabetes. Studies indicate that up to 75% of men with diabetes at some point experience erectile dysfunction. Chronically elevated blood sugar can indirectly affect erections by causing nerve and blood vessel damage.
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and salt. We group these three together because the first two are often caused by adding salt to food too often. High blood pressure and cholesterol can restrict circulation, including to the penis, resulting in erectile dysfunction.
The team at UT Urology in Chattanooga provides personalized services to patients facing all kinds of urologic conditions. For assistance understanding and treating erectile dysfunction, contact us at (423) 778-5910.