Erectile Dysfunction, or Male Impotence, is defined as the inability in a male to attain or maintain adequate penile erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse, and performance. In the USA, it affects up to 300 million American men.
An erection is maintained with a healthy nervous system and sufficient blood flow to the penis. Upon sexual stimulation in a man, the brain signals the penile arteries which then start to dilate. The corpus spongiosum and two corpus cavernosa (specialized sponge-like erectile structures) that run the length of the penile shaft, begin to engorge themselves with blood.
This is what actually causes the penis to become firm and hard. The engorged and swollen erectile tissues then compress the veins, which act prevents the blood from draining away.
And this is how the penis becomes firm and hard, and an erection maintained.
Penile arteries are delicate and small, and only about 1/3 the size or coronary arteries. This makes them extremely vulnerable to damage. Once damaged, blood vessels have a difficult time to do their job properly: allowing adequate and strong blood flow. This results in weak, or non-existent penile erection, or erectile dysfunction / impotence.
There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, and the four most common ones are:
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
All of these causes of erectile dysfunction damage blood vessels.
Smoking seriously doubles the risk of moderate to severe erectile dysfunction.
And of these four causes, only smoking is an otherwise healthy young man’s erectile dysfunction challenge.
A young man who starts smoking at 18 (and often, many start earlier) and continues moderate to heavy smoking for another 20 years or so, may experience moderate to severe erectile dysfunction / impotence by age 38.
Smoking is the most common cause of erectile dysfunction in men under 40 years of age. As these men age, other health ( eg. diabetes, heart disease) and life-style problems further compound their erectile dysfunction / impotence problem.
The sad news is that this sort of damage is usually difficult to reverse. And only about 25% of men who quit smoking after years of indulgence, actually experience improvement in their erectile dysfunction challenge.
There are various options like drugs and natural cures and remedies for erectile dysfunction. However, these are only effective when the man ceases altogether to smoke.
In most countries around the world, there are health warning signs on cigarette packages. In Canada, cigarette boxes show graphic images of smoking-related diseases, including erectile dysfunction.
Studies show that indicate that more than 90% teenagers and 70% adults find these warnings effective, and 44% smokers found the images a good motivation to quit.
Message to men: Quit smoking now.
Throw your erectile dysfunction problem in the bin and get back your sex life!