Erectile dysfunction

Updated 22 February 2016

Risk factors for erectile dysfunction

There are many factors that may interfere with the blood vessels or nerves needed to have normal erections.

0

The following factors increase the risk of having a problem with the blood vessels or nerves that are needed to have normal erections:

• Diabetes. Between 35 and 50% of men with diabetes have erection problems. About half of men with diabetes develop erection problems within five years of being diagnosed with diabetes.

It’s important to ensure that diabetes is well controlled from the start as established neuronal and vascular changes are permanent.

• High blood pressure, blood vessel disease and stroke.

• High cholesterol and low HDL (high density lipoproteins) cholesterol (a "good" form of cholesterol that protects you against heart disease).

• Low levels of the hormones needed for the normal development and function of the sex organs (hypogonadism). This especially applies to the male hormone testosterone. Thyroid problems may also increase the risk of erection problems.

• Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and other neurological diseases.

• Injury to the penis or pelvic region.

• Pelvic surgery or radiation treatment.

• Use of drugs to treat high blood pressure or depression, diuretics or tranquilisers.

• Chronic alcohol or recreational drug abuse and cigarette smoking.

The following factors increase the risk of a psychological cause of erection problems:

• Depression

• Anxiety or stress

• Relationship problems

• Recent major life change (birth of a child, retirement, job change, loss or death of a partner, divorce or marriage)

• Restless legs syndrome. Recent studies show higher incidence of ED in men with this condition.

Read more:

Causes of ED  

Treatment of ED 

Symptoms of ED

Reviewed by Dr Dave Bowden MBBCh (Wits), FCS (SA) Urol. Specialist Urologist in private practice, Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, Cape Town. (February 2015)

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Erectile Dysfunction Expert

Dr Kenny du Toit is a urologist practicing in Rondebosch, Cape Town. He is also consultant at Tygerberg hospital, where he is a senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University. He is a member of the South African Urological Association, Colleges of Medicine South Africa and Société Internationale d’Urologie. Board registered with both the HPCSA (Health professions council of South Africa) and GMC (General medical council UK). He has a keen interest in oncology, kidney stones and erectile dysfunction.http://www.dutoiturology.co.za

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules