The penile size gets enlarged with arousal or with any desire or thought related to intercourse. A set of spongy tissues of the muscle corpora cavernosa gets relaxed and enlarged so as to accommodate the increased blood flow towards the penis with every sexual arousal. Similarly, there are a group of muscles that help to withhold the blood from moving away from penis thus, it maintains the state of erection for satisfactory sexual activity. These are the physiological process involved with an erection of the penis in normal healthy men.
Any disturbances or interruption in this normal process leads to failure of erection with sexual arousal or desire or inability to sustain the erection for a long period of time. This condition is called as erectile dysfunction. One in five men faces this problem in their life. There are several factors that are responsible for causing erectile dysfunction. They include the neurogenic cause, psychological cause, drug-induced, vascular and combination of several other factors.
- Neurogenic cause: Neurological problems like Parkinson’s disease, stroke, head injury and Alzheimer’s disease can lead to the development of erectile dysfunction. These diseases may cause disturbance to the initiation or transmission of the nerve impulses that are responsible for the erection.
- Psychological causes: Psychological factor acts as a major cause of most of the sexual disorders or dysfunction for both male and females. And factors responsible for causing erectile dysfunction are excessive work stress, unresolved relationship issues, performance anxiety, lack of love and understanding between the partners, suppressed feelings and emotions, childhood sex abuse, previous misconception or negative failure past sexual experiences. These psychological factors are responsible for causing psychogenic erectile dysfunction
- Drug-induced: Heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis are harmful drugs that may lead to the development of erectile dysfunction. There are also few drugs which interfere with the regulation of certain hormones that are responsible for the sexual activity.
- Vascular cause of erectile dysfunction: Systemic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia can cause damage to the blood vessel and impairs the blood flow in our body. This may also cause decreased blood flow to the penis and may lead to erectile dysfunction.