What is ED?
ED (Erectile Dysfunction) is the inability to attain or maintain an erection suitable for intercourse. ED is usually just a symptom of a larger health problem, but at times it can seem like the biggest problem. ED is often a sign of other health issues that can cause problems with blood flow to the penis.
With normal function a Man's brain will send an impulse to the arteries in the penis telling them to widen. When this happens more blood will flow to the penis, causing the penis to expand and harden - an erection. In the case of ED the nerves or blood vessels of the penis don't work properly and blood is prevented from flowing to the penis or from being held there.
The ability to achieve and hold an erection can be limited by three physical factors:
- Blood flow into the penis has been reduced causing ED. Not enough blood flow to the penis may be caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.)
- The penis is unable to hold the blood during an erection. This is called Venous Leak because the veins are no longer able to trap the blood in the area, allowing the penis to become soft. Venous leak may be caused by the gradual weakening of the vein walls as a natural part of aging.
- The messages from the brain are not reaching the penis through the nervous system. Diabetes , Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's disease can affect the ability of the nervous system to pass the stimuli along to the penile nerves. Injuries to the pelvic area or radical surgeries, such as a full prostatectomy, can also damage penile nerves.