Sign in to your account

Don't have an account?

Create an account
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more
Black medical doctor in a white coat and red stethoscope examining a patient on a ward. Our doctors on askawayhealth have years of clinical experience to provide top notch care.

Need to check your symptoms?

Use our symptom checker to help determine what your symptoms are and to ensure you get the help you need.

Check your symptoms


Request a reset

Don't have an account?

Create an account


Reset your password

Don't have an account?

Create an account


A WOMAN’s Guide To Erectile Dysfunction

October 15, 2018

Updated May 2023

Ladies, this article will interest you if your man is having trouble in the ‘performance’ department.

Erectile Dysfunction causes a lot of distress in many men who are too embarrassed to talk about it and clarify any issues they may have in this regard. It is a very common problem.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is also known as Impotence. Even though embarrassing to the individual, it’s a real complaint that many men prefer not to discuss – even with their doctor.

This is quite understandable but worrying – especially more in societies with little accurate information about the condition.

However, if only we can get men with this condition to open up to a competent doctor, they are likely to get the solution in many cases.

Regretfully in many low and middle-income countries like Nigeria, a lot of ‘cures’ exist in the public space for impotence problems.

They are NOT real or effective treatments.

Firstly, what causes Erectile Dysfunction?

ED causes are usually either physical or psychological problems.

Physical problems that cause ED:

  1. Those that directly affect the penis include conditions that cause a change in the blood supply to the penis. Studies have shown this includes conditions like Hypertension, Diabetes and high cholesterol levels etc.
  2. Those caused by injury to the nerves supplying the penis, for example:
    1. from damage to the spinal cord,
    2. from trauma due to accidents (including road accidents), from surgery or the spread of cancer
  3. Those caused by changes to hormones that affect the function of the penis
  4. Certain drugs, such as those that treat some conditions like Hypertension or Cancer medications.

Psychological Problems that cause ED:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Relationship problems

There are some other situations that can increase the risk of developing ED – which include:

  • abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs,
  • smoking and
  • long-distance cycling/ regular driving for long periods – lorry/truck drivers

Recommended Reading

What are the treatments for ED?

Next, to consider treatment, we would need to identify if any of the above conditions are present  – either physical or psychological (or both) – increasing the risk of ED.

In conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension or high Cholesterol, there is a change to the blood vessels that supply the penis.

This means the blood vessels in these conditions are at risk of becoming damaged by fat/cholesterol.

When damaged, the blood vessels get harder and narrow affecting the healthy blood flow to the penis.

How a normal male erection happens

In order for an erection to happen, blood needs to flow into the tissues of the penis and leads to the turgid, erect, ‘hard’ state.

Male arousal triggers blood flow to the penis, which sends in the hormone that stimulates all the activity, leading to increased blood flow.

Normal functioning nerves to the penis and a normal blood supply are both necessary for this to happen.

Anything that interrupts this process can result in Erectile Dysfunction.

Factors that can affect the normal erection.

  • Preventing or hindering arousal (e.g. anxiety or depression, stress etc),
  • Damage to nerve function ( e.g. trauma from accidents or surgery), disturbance of hormone flow,
  • Damage to blood flow (from hardened blood vessels caused by a disease like Diabetes or Hypertension); or
  • Drugs that can affect the normal working of the penis

With psychological symptoms, the anxious mind has challenges:

Mostly by a desire to ‘perform’ well and so be unable to achieve arousal leading to problems with erection.

Low mood or depression leads to stress which causes reduced libido or desire for sexual activity.

Also Read: Your Complete Guide to Developing, Preventing and Treating Yeast Infections By AskAwayHealth

Assumptions When Treating ED.

The main assumption is that there is just one medicine or drug to treat ED.

People should realise that since there are many causes, speaking to your doctor about your symptoms is important.

This allows us to identify the cause in your specific case.

Treatment will then be based on the cause.

It is important to see a competent physician to manage the problem.

Erectile Dysfunction is treatable in many cases, so men who suffer from this problem are encouraged to seek medical review rather than rely on taking herbal concoctions or other preparations without reference to the cause.

More Reading

Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly

Share this blog article

On this page

Let us know what you think

Want to know how your comment data is processed? Learn more

Access over 600 resources & our monthly newsletter.

Askawayhealth 2023 grant recipient from European Union Development Fund

Askawayhealth, 2023 Award Recipient

Our educational content meets the standards set by the NHS in their Standard for Creating Health Content guidance.

Askawayhealth aims to deliver reliable and evidence based women's health, family health and sexual health information in a way that is easily relatable and easy for everyone to access.

Askawayhealth symptom Checker tool image

Utilize our complimentary symptom checker tool to gain more information about any uncertain symptoms you might have.