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What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is when the penis does not achieve a firm enough erection to allow satisfactory penetration during sex. It is very common, and people are more likely to experience it as they age. Studies suggest that over half of men between age 40 and 70 experience this condition. 

What causes erectile dysfunction?

This condition has many contributing factors. They can be medical, psychological, or related to lifestyle. 

Medical contributors

We strongly recommend being screened for these health concerns! Erectile Dysfunction

  • Heart disease – Erectile dysfunction is commonly an early indicator of heart disease. 
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are also major contributing factors.

Psychological contributors:

  • Your erectile dysfunction may or may not have a psychological cause. But, it can definitely have psychological effects on you and your relationships!
  • We recommend consulting a mental health provider to gain confidence and manage relationship concerns around this condition.
  • You may also benefit from seeing a mental health provider if it has a sudden onset or only happens in some situations. Addressing mental health is also recommended if you can still have morning erections and are able to achieve erection with masturbation.

Other contributors:

    • Medication side effects – Many prescriptions, including antidepressants, can cause erectile dysfunction. 
    • Prostatectomy (surgery for prostate cancer). Learn more about post-prostatectomy rehab here
  • Cycling The pressure on the pelvic nerves and tissues from riding a bike can contribute to erectile dysfunction. There are bike seats designed to reduce this pressure. Being mindful of how much and how often you are training. Additionally, remember to spend time out of the saddle to reduce your risk! 
  • Smoking – Quitting smoking can improve erectile function!

How to treat it:

  • Addressing the factors described above
  • Medications (oral and injections)
  • Vacuum pump devices

Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels). Research supports the use of pelvic floor muscle training to treat both premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Your pelvic PT can work with you to develop a program! Start with this article to learn how to do pelvic floor exercise on your own.

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