Difficulty Getting Or Maintaining An Erection

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnose your symptoms now!
  • check your overall health status
  • let The Analyst™ find what's wrong
  • identify any nutritional deficiencies

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose erectile dysfunction, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "erectile dysfunction" as a symptom.  Here are seven possibilities:
  • Low Testosterone
  • Heart Disease
  • Cigarette Smoke Damage
  • Male Menopause
  • Dehydration
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Prostate Cancer

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
menopausal arthritis
calcium supplementation
sleeping more than necessary
recent onset nausea
very dry eyes
very cloudy urine
slight afternoon/evening fatigue
minor joint pain/swelling/stiffness
high coffee consumption
numb/burning/tingling extremities
recently quitting smoking
loss of appetite
... and more than 140 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of erectile dysfunction:
Cause Probability Status
Prostate Cancer 97% Confirm
Low Testosterone 30% Unlikely
Male Menopause 16% Unlikely
Dehydration 1% Ruled out
Cigarette Smoke Damage 0% Ruled out
Heart Disease 0% Ruled out
Adrenal Fatigue 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Reproductive Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about difficulty getting or maintaining an erection:
Do you have difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection?
Possible responses:
→ No / never / prefer not to say / don't know
→ Very rarely I will fail to maintain full erection
→ I occasionally fail to achieve/maintain erection
→ I usually/always fail to achieve/maintain erection
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate rare difficulty maintaining erection, some difficulty getting an erection or severe difficulty getting erections, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Andropause/Male Menopause

Impotence or erectile dysfunction is one of the most common symptoms of andropause.

Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

A buildup of plaque in the penile arteries can lead to difficulty achieving or maintaining erection.  A long-running study of over 2,000 men found that erectile dysfunction is associated with a more than threefold higher risk of heart attack.  Lead researcher Dr. Steven J. Jacobsen, a professor of epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic, reported the findings Nov. 11, 2003 at the American Heart Association's annual conference in Orlando, Florida.  According to Jacobsen, "We can't say that it is cause-and-effect, but erectile dysfunction is a marker for future events of cardiovascular disease."  Overall, men with a heart attack from 1979 to 1995 were 3.5 times more likely to have erectile dysfunction in 1996 than men who did not have a heart attack.

Low Male Testosterone Level

Without sufficient testosterone the penile muscles atrophy, with the result that insufficient blood is trapped for developing or maintaining an erection, which in turn leads to poor performance and the anxiety that follows.  One study found that low testosterone is a factor in 20% of men under 30 with erectile problems.

Prostate Cancer

A cancerous prostate gland may interfere with blood flow and nerve impulses to the penis.  That can cause ED; impotence can be one of the signs of prostate cancer.

Cigarette Smoke Damage

Men with high blood pressure who smoke are 26 times more likely to be impotent than non-smokers.  Even former smokers with high blood pressure (hypertension) are 11 times more likely to be impotent than non smokers. [Study conducted by Dr. John Spangler, MD at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center]

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
Symptom Entry
Symptom Entry
Full Explanations
Optional Doctor Review
Review (optional)