Erectile Dysfunction May Stem from Physiological or Psychological Causes


Or a Combination of the Two

History of Erectile Dysfunction


Erectile Dysfunction (ED) has been around probably as long as civilized man, maybe longer. However, until recently it was not called ED, the condition was referred to as impotence. In the last 10 years treatment of the condition has gone from a complaint whispered about among friends or discussed discreetly with a doctor to a multi-billion dollar industry.

Viagra was the first prescription drug to hit the market in 1998. Since then the number of men diagnosed with ED has increased by 250 percent. One estimate is that as many as one in 10 men suffer from the condition. That means millions and millions of potential men who might benefit from the medications.

What is ED, Really?

The first step in understanding the condition referred to these days as erectile dysfunction is to know what it is. Many men have occasions when they are not able to achieve an erection, but that is not ED. Medically speaking ED is defined as a condition where men have trouble achieving an erection at least 25 percent of the time. Not being able to achieve an erection is defined as either not being able to achieve an erection at all or one that does not last long enough for intercourse.

The basic problem is that there is not enough blood flow into the penis. The problem can be triggered by an injury, disease, or a psychological condition. In short, any disorder that causes injury to the nerves or impairs blood flow in the penis has the potential to cause ED. While statistics indicate only 5 percent of men 40 years old have the condition, this number rises to between 15 percent and 25 percent for men 65 years old or older. Still, ED is not a condition specifically linked to aging.

What Causes ED

There is no one simple cause of ED. A number of physiological conditions can result in the condition and it also can be caused by psychological factors. Or, it can be a combination of both. Also, there are a number of treatments for the condition aside from pills. It all makes for a problem more complex than the television commercials would like to project.

Physicians first examine patients to find a cause for the lack of blood flow. Aside from physical injury, experts say smoking and side effects of other medications are primary reasons for ED. Levitra, like other drugs marketed for the condition, works by relaxing blood vessels, allows more blood to flow into the penis, thus producing an erection.