Also known as impotence, erectile dysfunction is when a man has persistent problems getting and sustaining an erection. Sometimes, this may be difficulty getting hard enough for sex. Other times, it may be not staying hard for long enough for sex to happen.
There are several possible causes. It can be down to physical problems (being overweight, having high blood pressure), psychological problems (anxiety or depression) or a combination of the two.
In the body, ED is caused by loss of circulation to the penis, where the arteries at the base of the penis contract and don’t let blood through. An enzyme called PDE5 plays a part in this, and makes the arteries tighter.
Treatment for ED works by countering the effects of PDE5, so blood can flow into the penis, and help it to become erect during periods of sexual arousal.