What Causes Erection Problems In Men

What Causes Erection Problems In Men Men’s Health
June 13, 2022
6 minutes Read
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Hopping in the sack for a little passion session is often a regular part of life for many adults (albeit a highlight). That being said, if you can get and maintain an erection long enough to fully enjoy a sexual encounter, it’s worth appreciating.

However, if you’re a male who suffers from erectile problems and you’re left wondering, “Why can’t I get hard?” or “Why can I keep an erection?” we’re here to shed light on this difficult topic. 

Difficulty getting an erection may very well be the first indicator that something deeper is going on and should be addressed.

A man’s inability to get and stay hard is complicated because several different factors are involved.

It’s essential to distinguish the nature of the erection concern. Some of the forms it can take on are:

  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Issues getting as hard as you once did
  • Trouble staying hard with or without a partner
  • No longer waking up to an erection in the AM

What is an erection problem?

The internationally acclaimed Mount Sinai Health System explains that an erection problem occurs when a male cannot get or hold a firm enough erection for sexual intercourse. Alternatively, a man may lose his hard-on during sex.

Are erection problems the same as erectile disfunction (ED)?

Dr. Chris Kyle, a urologist with an MD and MPH from Louisiana State University, explains that “An erection problem can be an umbrella term for any issues that lead to difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.”

If you struggle to get and keep an erect penis for a satisfying sexual performance, you’re experiencing erectile disfunction (ED).

Are erection problems the same as low libido?

Low libido is when your sex drive is reduced, which could be caused by certain physical health issues, a side effect of medications (such as some anti-depressants), or some mental health conditions. Low libido can lead to physical and emotional side effects, including ED.

“Low libido and ED are very common issues that nearly half of men in the US will experience throughout their lives, so it’s important to know the proper methods of treatment and find the best way to comfortably integrate that treatment into one’s sex life,” says Kyle.

It can be tempting to try at-home or natural remedies for erectile disfunction when confronted with ED or low libido. While some of these more natural approaches may work, first, you must ask and understand, “Why can’t i stay hard?”

Weak erection causes:

“A flaccid penis needs to fill with blood to become or stay erect, and without the proper blood flow to the penis, it may not be firm enough for sexual intercourse,” says Kyle.

Common Causes Of Erection Problems

The doctor explains that a man’s inability to get enough blood flowing towards his penis can be either be:

  1. An organic issue: A problem stemming from physical impairment, or
  2. A psychogenic issue: A problem stemming from the brain.

Common organic causes of erection problems include:

  1. Diabetes: The Boston University Medical Center explains that about half of the males diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can develop ED.
  2. High blood pressure: This issue causes damage to the lining of the blood vessels, which causes one’s arteries to narrow and harden. This narrowing effect limits blood flow, so there is less blood moving to the penis.
  3. Obesity: According to the International Journal of Impotence Research (IJIR), overweight or obese people may have a 30-90 percent chance of developing ED compared to those of average weight.
  4. Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer can have a man asking, “Why can’t i get hard?” or “Why can’t I stay hard?” According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, almost all males will encounter erectile problems after prostate cancer treatment for the first few months.
  5. Heart disease: The process that causes heart disease can also create ED (but earlier). Furthermore, erectile issues can be an early warning sign of existing or future heart problems.
  6. Injuries that affect the pelvic area: According to the Bone and Joint Journal, weak erection causes include injuries related to the pelvic area. For example, ED occurring after a pelvic fracture is common, with rates as high as 30 percent.
  7. Alcohol use: Alcohol meddles with the messengers in the brain that tell a person’s penis to fill with blood. ED can also happen because alcohol can decrease testosterone production. So if you’re stressing and asking, “Why can’t I keep an erection?” have a look at your alcoholic drink intake.
  8. Low testosterone: Most males experience lower testosterone levels as they get older, but these reduced levels are usually not low enough to cause ED. The problem with penile stimulation occurs if there is a hormonal imbalance or not enough testosterone.
  9. Sleep disorders: According to an article published in the National Library of Medicine (NIH), research suggests that inadequate and disrupted sleep and sleep disorders greatly impact a man’s health, including sexual performance. In short, not enough quality shut-eye can be just one of many potential weak erection causes.

Common psychogenic causes of erection problems include:

  1. Stress & anxiety: According to a medically reviewed article in Healthline, stress and anxiety can interfere with how one’s brain sends messages to the penis. In other words, blood is not flowing to the penis the way it should, causing it to remain or go soft.
  2. ADHD: Research suggests that some with ADHD experience a lower sex drive than those without. Furthermore, one study found an ADHD rate of roughly ten percent in subjects with ED.
  3. Depression: When a person suffers from depression, they might not find joy in activities that once brought them excitement, including sex.

“Sometimes erection problems can be from a combination of organic and psychogenic causes, and if a man experiences erection problems once for whatever reason, he may have less confidence in his ability to perform sexually, leading to psychogenic erection issues,” says Kyle.

Can masturbation cause erectile disfunction?

Oddly enough, it’s a common misunderstanding that masturbation can cause erectile disfunction. Some believe that masturbating too much can lead to ED. Regardless, this idea is based on myth rather than fact.

However, some research indicates that when a male watches excessive amounts of porn, it can contribute to ED due to desensitization to sexual images. That being said, no current research proves that enjoying porn causes a physical response resulting in ED.

Therefore, before hitting the search bar with “Can masturbation cause erectile disfunction?” remember that this belief is more lore than truth.

One study examined a case of a man who believed that masturbation provokes erectile disfunction.

He believed this idea so thoroughly he was certain that his habits caused him to remain flaccid, so he could not make love to his partner, which almost led to a divorce.

Eventually, this gentleman was diagnosed with depression. Once a diagnosis was reached, the couple combined sex ed. and therapy so they could, again, make love to each other.

What if you have erection problems? First thing’s first, talk to a doctor:

While it may seem obvious to consult a physician about erection issues, a man might feel fear or embarrassment, which can prevent him from reaching out for help.

To tackle this hurdle, we’ve created a mobile health app that allows a male to seek medical consultation from the privacy of his home.

Featured in this app is ravkoo MD. Ravkoo MD allows a registered user to:

  • Select a healthcare provider.
  • Book a doctor’s appointment.
  • Attend a virtual doctor’s visit via mobile device.

Furthermore, if your doctor advises you to take a health test, you can order a lab kit via ravkoo LAB. The kit will be discreetly delivered to your doorstep and results are given over the phone.

Finally, if your physician suggests medication, you can arrange prescription fulfillment and at-home delivery from ravkoo RX.

Medical treatments for erectile disfunction:

There are several treatments available for men with erectile disfunction, including:

  1. Medication: “One of the more common treatments is a pill such as Viagra or Cialis,” says Kyle. However, these pills require a prescription and can have side effects such as headaches, congestion, and vision problems.
  2. Medical injection: “Another option is an injection in which a man places a needle into his penis and injects a medication to help achieve an erection,” explains Kyle.

Generally speaking, penile injections can be self-administered in one’s home. They work to treat ED by enhancing blood flow towards the genitalia, which creates a stiffer erection.

While injecting a needle into your member may make you recoil or want to run and hide, a global review found that penile injection therapy is a commonly well-tolerated and effective ED treatment.

Natural remedies for erectile disfunction include options such as:

  1. Vacuum pump devices: This device “pulls blood into the penis using negative pressure, and it is often combined with a constriction device,” offers Kyle.
  2. Healthier diet choices: A 2020 study discovered that males who followed a Mediterranean-type diet had a decreased chance of developing ED.

For instance, a person could improve their sexual health by eating less processed meat. More nutritious food options include:

  • fruits and veggies
  • legumes
  • fish
  • nuts
  1. Reduce smoking (or quit):

Smoking contributes to ED because it damages blood vessels needed to flow blood towards one’s johnson. This hard-to-break habit can also reduce nitric oxide availability in the body, which is required for muscle relaxation and improved circulation (both of which play an important role in achieving and maintaining hardness down under).

Moreover, according to research from 2015, frequent smoking was linked to increasing the risk of ED. The research further suggested that quitting smoking, especially for younger guys, may help improve ED. With this in mind, it’s not always easy to fully recover your health even after you quit smoking as some damage is irreversible.

Dropping the dart for good is no simple task, but plenty of helpful resources are available to get you started on the journey towards well-being.

In short, quitting smoking has the potential to help improve your ED, and it will certainly benefit many other aspects of your life including the ability to achieve better breath, whiter teeth, and more energy.

  1. Exercising more:

Studies show that regular workouts may help safeguard against ED. It may also improve already occurring erection problems.

Similarly, a 2018 study found that even moderate aerobic exercise for about 40 minutes daily for six months helped ease ED. Suggested exercises include:

  • Brisk walks
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Snowboarding or skiing
  • Running

Exercise helps lower stress and boost testosterone levels, supporting a more robust sex life.

  1. Couples counseling or sex therapy:

Because anxiety, depression, and stress can all affect a man’s ability to perform in bed, we know that mental duress is a factor that can contribute to ED.

Also, if one is in a relationship with ongoing and unresolved disagreements, the problems might hamper a man’s ability to get or stay hard.

Open and honest communication can go a long way in reducing anxiety and helping a person feel more at ease under the sheets.

Therefore, consider sex therapy or couples counseling as possible natural remedies for erectile disfunction. No one’s relationship is perfect 100 percent of the time, and arguments can actually become a source of growth if both people are willing to work towards a positive resolution based on understanding.

How does an erectile problem affect a romantic relationship?

Kyle notes that satisfying your partner during sex can be exceptionally important for personal confidence and relationship health.

“When a man cannot perform the way he wants to or is used to because of erection problems, he may think there is something wrong with him,” says Dr. Kyle. 

How common are erectile problems?

A male who experiences erectile problems should realize how common it truly is. “Over 40% of men will experience some form of erectile disfunction in their lifetime, explains Kyle.

Also, ED can happen to almost any guy regardless of age and for many different reasons.

Final thoughts:

Unfortunately, many men are left asking difficult questions such as:

  • Why can’t I get hard?
  • Why can’t I stay hard?
  • Why can’t I keep an erection?

If you or your partner has ED, know that it’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. Do your best to face the issue with compassion for yourself and look to a medical professional for treatment.

Our bodies are made up of highly complex systems, and even the smallest imbalance can affect one’s health, virility, and well-being.

“Understanding that it’s not necessarily a permanent condition and that there is treatment available can help men better navigate their sexual health journey,” remarks Kyle.

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