Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is when it is hard to get or keep an erection that's firm enough for sex. ED affects as many as 30 million men.

Most men have problems with erections from time to time. But when this happens more than half of the time, then ED is present. ED can happen when health problems limit blood flow or damage nerves in the penis. ED can also be caused by stress or emotional reasons. ED can be an early warning of a more serious illness. Heart disease, high blood pressure and high blood sugar can all cause ED. Finding and treating the cause(s) of your ED can help your overall health and well-being.

How Erections Work

When you are not sexually aroused, your penis is soft and limp. During sexual arousal, nerve messages release chemicals that increase blood flow into the penis. The blood flows into 2 erection chambers made of spongy tissue (the corpus cavernosum) in the penis. The "smooth muscle" in the erection chambers relaxes, which lets blood enter and stay in the chambers. The pressure of the blood in the chambers makes the penis firm, giving you an erection. After you have an orgasm, the blood flows out of the chambers and the erection goes away.

​What are the Symptoms of ED?

When you have ED, it is hard to get or keep an erection that is firm enough for sex. Most men have trouble with erections from time to time, but in some men it is a regular and more bothersome problem. ED can cause:

Low self-esteem
Performance anxiety

ED may affect the quality of a marriage or intimate relationships.

Tea Sippers

Testicular Disease

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Why should I care about testicular disease?
What is testicular disease?
What can I do to prevent testicular disease?
How is testicular disease treated?
What else do I need to know about testicular disease?


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High Blood Pressure in African-Americans

In this article

Why Is High Blood Pressure Common in African-Americans?
High Blood Pressure Risk Factors for African-Americans
Do You Have High Blood Pressure?
Treating High Blood Pressure in African-Americans
Making Your High Blood Pressure Treatment Plan Work

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