Erectile dysfunction can be a frustrating and embarrassing issue. According to the Urology Care Foundation, erectile dysfunction is characterized by the inability to produce or maintain an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. Most men will face this problem on occasion. However, erectile dysfunction that happens with increasing regularity or that interferes with sexual activity more than half of the time is not normal. Your physician can help diagnose the underlying problem that contributes to erectile dysfunction. Here are 10 possible reasons for this problem.
10. Alcohol or Drug Use
While alcohol or recreational drugs can relieve inhibitions and increase your desire for sex, they often interfere with sexual performance and ability. Studies show that dependence on alcohol increases the risk of sexual dysfunction. According to Impotence Guide, alcohol contributes to erectile dysfunction by dampening signals from the central nervous system, damaging nerve endings in the penis, and disrupting testosterone levels. The effects of alcohol on judgment, focus, and coordination also hamper the ability to enjoy healthy sexual activity.
9. Medication Side Effects
Certain prescription medications may have negative effects on sexual function. Blood pressure medications may have side effects that contribute to erectile dysfunction. The Mayo Clinic reports that diuretics can decrease blood flow to the penis. Another class of blood pressure medication, beta blockers, is also associated with problems achieving an erection. If you suspect prescription medications are interfering with sex, do not stop taking them until you speak with your physician. Your doctor may be able to select a different class of drug or a combination of medications to keep your heart healthy while also preserving your sex life.