Despite being one of the most common sexual health concerns for men, many people remain in the dark about what actually causes erectile dysfunction

With the holiday season fast approaching, many men are facing the reality of another festive period with erectile dysfunction. This can put a serious dampener on celebrations, and cause men to lose confidence and feel alone.

Yet, it is important to state that impotence is a widespread problem that can affect many men at some point in their life. One study from the Co-Op Pharmacy found that impotence affects 4.3 million men in the UK, the equivalent of one in five British men. But for such a common condition, many men are still unsure about what is actually at the root of their erectile problems. Understanding the condition is the first step to treating it effectively, which is why we’re here to clarify the science behind erectile dysfunction. Let’s take a look.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

An erection occurs when blood fills the penile chambers. This causes the penis to become enlarged and firm. However, in order to this to happen, a complex series of processes need to take place. An erection requires the release of a chemical called cGMP. This relaxes the blood vessels in the penis and makes it easier for blood to enter the penis and cause an erection.

When orgasm occurs and blood begins to drain from the area, an enzyme called PDE-5 is released to break down the cGMP chemical. However, in some men the PDE-5 enzyme is too active, stopping cGMP from widening the blood vessels before orgasm occurs. This makes it harder for men to reach and sustain a state of erection. This lies at the root of erectile dysfunction.

How does treatment work?

Once you understand the science behind the causes of erectile dysfunction, it becomes easier to understand how effective medication can work to treat the condition. Erectile dysfunction treatments broadly fall under the category of PDE-5 inhibitors. As the name suggests, these treatments inhibit the activity of the PDE-5 enzyme and subdue it, allowing the cGMP chemical to do its job properly. This intervention stops the blood vessels in the penis from contracting and makes it significantly easier to achieve and maintain an erection.

Popular PDE-5 inhibitors include treatments such as Sildenafil, Spedra, Levitra and, of course, Viagra.

Erectile dysfunction and mental health

While the bodily processes behind erectile dysfunction are largely physical, your mental health can play a huge part in increasing your symptoms.

Anxiety and depression can be significant factors in causing erectile dysfunction, and in some cases treating these wider conditions is necessary in order to improve your erectile issues. For most people, erectile dysfunction is the result of a vicious cycle between mental and physical health. Most erectile dysfunction is caused by physical factors, but when it occurs it can significantly increase feelings of performance anxiety, depression and anxiety in general. This can serve to make the condition even worse.

Treating the mental health aspects of erectile dysfunction can consist of something as simple as talking to your partner. Working together to make the bedroom a relaxing, inviting space rather than a pressurised one can be hugely important. Sexual health therapy or couples therapy can also be beneficial.

Certain physical health concerns can also increase your likelihood of suffering from erectile dysfunction, including diabetes. Poor lifestyle choices such as a bad diet, heavy drinking and smoking can also play a part in the condition.

This winter, don’t let erectile dysfunction stop you getting cosy in the bedroom. Explore the range of effective erectile dysfunction medications available from Express Pharmacy. For further guidance and support, get in touch with our team today using our discreet live chat service.