Causes of Erectile Dysfunction and What You Can Do to Self-Diagnose

About the cases of erectile dysfunctionLet’s face it—the last thing you want to do is stop playing video games and eating wings from Hooters to visit the doctor so you can complain about your malfunctioning wang!  Discussing the causes and onset of erectile dysfunction is usually the last thing on a guy’s mind.

Guys have enough problems struggling with masculinity issues, social pressure, family drama and the never-ending assortment of boobage out there that he can’t possibly comprehend in one lifetime.

Yes, it’s a boner killer for sure but being too macho to discuss erectile dysfunction can be a major health risk…and could even end with you dropping dead in your 50s, 40s or even your 30s.  Erectile dysfunction is problematic because the symptoms are so common they could indicate anything from heart disease to relationship problems to even masturbation habits you learned in your teenage years.

So here’s what we’re going to do.  We’re not going to ruin your day by saying you have to rush out to see a doctor right away.  Rather, we’re going to share with you some ways on how to identify causes of erectile dysfunction on your own and see whether or not you can (A) solve the issue on your own, and (B) determine if it’s a health problem or just a psychological issue that can be resolved with some TLC.

Figuring out Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

Let’s assume that you go to see a doctor.  Some of what the doctor will ask you can research now.  According to Web MD, preparing for a doctor visit means you should have plenty of information to share with the doctor since he can’t diagnose you with just a look.

The doctor needs to know the full scope of your health:

  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you take medication, OTC, herbal or prescription?
  • What is your marriage like, stressful or easygoing?
  • Is your job stressful?
  • Do you seem to suffer E.D. symptoms constantly and over several months or is it just an occasional but annoying problem?
  • What’s your exercise routine?
  • What kind of dietary habits do you have?
  • What other symptoms have you noticed?
  • What is your family history?

This means it’s best to start keeping a log of any erectile dysfunction problems so you can notice the difference between recurring patterns and habits and occasional mishaps.  Because as we’re sure you’ve heard before, yes, “It does happen to everyone sometimes.”  What you should be concerned about is if it’s happening a lot of the time.

Your doctor will be interested to know facts about your symptoms, such as what kind of E.D. or related erection problems do you have?  The inability to keep an erection?  Impotence?  Or weak erections followed by fast ejaculation?  The doc may also want to know whether these problems were sudden or gradual and how often they come specifically when you want to have sex with your partner.

Asking “What up, Doc?” about erections is a normal conversation and there’s no need to be embarrassed.  All you really have to say is “I think I might have erectile dysfunction.”  You can also add on, “I’m concerned because of the risk of heart disease that goes along with it.”  Even though the truth is, of course, we just want a better sex life!  We want better erections, better orgasms, and most of all, we want to please our partners thoroughly.  E.D. is a real pain in the…well, you get the picture.

No problem, he’ll understand the situation and if there is cause for concern, particularly with health, obesity, or other physical conditions, he may order some general health tests to look for heart problems.  If the issue seems to concern mainly the genitals or prostate, the doctor will refer you to a urologist to rule out anything life-threatening.

We’ll also save you the mystery of what happens when you see a urologist for the first time.  Urologists are more concerned about your actual sex life—your sexual history, relationship with your partner and other invasive questions.  And yeah, you do have to cooperate because that’s the only way to get to the root of the issue.

At this point is where the real discomfort comes along, since the urologist will analyze your penis, testicles, breasts, and body to look for any abnormalities.  The reason being, E.D. can sometimes be caused by hormonal problems, as well as abnormal blood pressure.  Blood and urine tests can reveal more information regarding kidney function, diabetes, heart disease, and low testosterone.

Although not as common, a urologist may also administer an overnight erection test, determining how often you get hard during the night—another indicator of blood flow problems.

Now that you know what the doctor is likely to say and look for, it’s time for you to self-diagnose some possible causes of E.D., according to what you know about your own lifestyle.

Analyzing Health Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

One easy way to determine if your E.D. problems are lifestyle related is to change your diet and exercise schedule.  According to Health Line, since E.D. can be caused by obesity, diabetes, and other physical conditions brought on by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, vascular disease and poor health in general.  The American Journal of Cardiology suggests that increasing your aerobic exercise can help improve heart health and blood flow—and thus become like a sort of natural Viagra cure for weak erections. Try brisk walking for 30 minutes a day four days a week and then see if there’s an increase in erection quality.

Diet selection has also been linked to health and sexual response.  The vast majority of Americans eat too much sugar, too many unhealthy fats, and too many bad carbs.  This affects everything from heart health to nutrient and vitamin deficiency.

The Huffington Post quoted a Firouz Daneshgari, MD, who said that “[ED problems] are due to not having a good blood supply to the penis…eating foods good for the vascular system may prevent ED.”

More natural Viagra-effect foods to include in your diet are:

  • Leafy greens and beats, full of Nitrate
  • Dark chocolate with flavinoids
  • Pistachio nuts with protein
  • Shellfish, oysters with zinc
  • Watermelon, with antioxidants
  • Tomatoes with lycopene

Looking for Causes of E.D. Within Yourself

If you are in generally good health, but would have a long story to tell the doctor if he asked you about your sex life, then it’s time to consider psychological and relationship factors that might cause symptoms of E.D.

According to Healthline, the most common psychological issues that cause erectile function problems include:

  • General anxiety
  • Performance anxiety (specifically the fear of being impotent leads to impotence)
  • Stress
  • Depression

These issues are not as easy to diagnose without a mental health profession’s evaluation but you can give some thought to the following scenarios.

Anxiety: Are you experiencing financial worries, or are you worried about family problems?  When do you worry and when do you make time for sex?  Ask yourself if you might be inadvertently inhibiting sexual performance because you choose the most “anxious” time of the night, or on the worst days of the week.  What days are you less anxious and is it possible to make time for sex during these peak hours?

Stress: Prolonged stress does terrible things to your body, erection quality the least of it.  Ask yourself if any particular home or work situation is making you angry or making you feel inadequate.  Sometimes people stress us out, sometimes situations stress us.  Letting go of resentment is one part of learning how to de-stress.  Equally important though, is the willingness to eliminate sources of stress from your life.  If a job or a person at work stresses you out, think about relocating or making a change.  If you’re handling too much responsibility, reduce your schedule and ask for assistance.  Finding someone to talk to can help, preferably your partner if she’s willing.  Investing time in meditation can also help, particularly before sex, so you don’t carry the weight of your problems into the bedroom.

Stress as a cause of erectile dysfunction

Depression: Depression is more complicated psychological problem, and just like heart disease, it should not be taken lightly.  Bipolar depression can actually interfere with a person’s judgment and enjoyment of daily activities because of a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Depression destroys sexuality, even before antidepressants are prescribed—and they take their toll too!  If you feel that your E.D. problems might be caused by negative thinking patterns (such irrational thoughts as feelings of worthlessness or questioning your value as a man) then it is important to seek a mental health professional and not merely a doctor.  These thoughts are not normal and treatment for depression (not necessarily medication) could help with both E.D. and your outlook on life.

Performance Anxiety: Performance anxiety is the “best case scenario” and is yet another example of “It happens to everybody…so stop worrying about it!”  Even the best stallion out there is going to have E.D. problems if he worries about performance anxiety to the point of obsession.  A man may literally question his masculinity just because he has off night.  A man with low self-esteem may worry so much about proving himself to his wife / girlfriend he may overcompensate during lovemaking…and psyche himself out when it comes time to actually penetrate.  And when he finally does go limp or build a soft erection, he judges himself so harshly that he makes sex a stressful experience.  No wonder he’s not enjoying himself!  The treatment here would be learning to relax and stop worrying so much about the “goal” and the “pressure” of amazing sex.  Learn to slow things down with your partner and rediscover the simple joy of intimacy.

Causes of E.D. Within Your Relationship

Relationship problems are such buzz killers in life that couples counseling is literally a billion dollar business.  We know what you’re thinking—the only thing worse than going to a urologist and dropping your pants is talking to a stranger about your masturbation history and waiting for a personal critique.

Before doing something this drastic try to do a little soul searching and ask yourself if poor communication is what’s affecting your erection strength.  Here are some of the most common problems between couples:

  • Poor body image for one or both partners; a fear of being naked or being close
  • Silently resenting your partner rather than just talking the feelings out
  • One or both partners assuming the other isn’t attracted anymore
  • Embarrassment over talking about sex; but good communication is HOW sex gets better!
  • Stressful interactions during sex; may be helped by changing positions or trying new sexual techniques away from the usual routine

One doctor by the name of Janice Lipsky, suggested that in relationship problems focusing on types of communicators may help to understand motivations and change these patterns.  Asking your partner for understanding and support is essential to avoiding future problems—not just with sexual satisfaction but even within the marriage.  A man may make the mistake of withdrawing from his partners and in doing so, will hurt her feelings and cause a rift in their mutual trust.  Being honest about the issue will remind your partner that it’s not an affair, not a love that’s growing cold.  It’s an issue you can tackle together.  And in the end, handling it this way will actually build trust and more intimacy.

As you can see these causes of erectile dysfunction are easier to understand than you might think.  While seeing a doctor is still a wise thing to do, to rule out disease or major health problems, you can start figuring out the problem on your own and see what works and what doesn’t.  A man confronting the issue is a real man!  Denial and avoidance is the path of weakness.  You owe it to yourself and your mate to look for answers and reclaim your manhood.

Source Material

http://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/guide/diagnosing-erectile-dysfunction#2, http://www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/exercises#overview1, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/10/02/foods-for-erectile-dysfunction_n_4031262.html, http://www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/psychological#overview1, http://newspapercat.org/3-simple-approaches-to-dealing-with-erectile-dysfunction-in-a-relationship

Mark Meyers

Mark is founder and sexcoach at Sexual Improvements. "Anyone can have an awesome sexlife with the right information!"

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