Erectile dysfunction is sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual activity. A penile erection is the effect of blood filling and being retained in sponge-like bodies within the penis. The process is most often initiated as a result of sexual arousal, when signals are transmitted from the brain to nerves in the penis. Psychological impotence is where erection or penetration fails due to thoughts or feelings rather than physical impossibility. This is less frequent but can often be helped. Notably in psychological impotence, there is a strong response to placebo treatment.
Erectile dysfunction can have severe psychological consequences as it can be tied to relationship difficulties and masculine self-image. In most cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by heart disease, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Peyronie's disease development of scar tissue inside the penis, certain prescription medications, tobacco use, alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse, sleep disorders, treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate, surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord.
Oral medications are a successful erectile dysfunction treatment for many men. They include Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn), Avanafil (Stendra). All four medications enhance the effects of nitric oxide — a natural chemical your body produces that relaxes muscles in the penis. This increases blood flow and allows you to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation.