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Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the most common sexual problem that men ask their doctors about, and approximately 50% of men aged between 40-70 and 70% of men over 70 have ED. Learning about what causes ED and the options in treating it can help to empower many men to address any psychological, medical or lifestyle factors.

Understanding what happens during an erection can help in understanding erectile dysfunction and identifying the causes of it. During arousal, the nerves release chemicals that increase the blood flow to two chambers in the penis. An erection happens once the chambers have filled. After orgasm, the second set of nerve signals cause the muscular tissues in the penis to contract, and the blood is then released back into the man’s circulation.




Understanding the root cause of ED can quickly alleviate any symptoms and result in a more confident, enjoyable sex life. As ED can lead to mental health issues and affect your overall self-esteem, understanding the potential medical and psychological causes is vital.


Medical causes:

  • Reduced blood flow to the penis could be caused by high cholesterol levels that narrow the blood vessels or by high blood pressure damaging the blood vessels.
  • High Cholesterol Levels – high cholesterol damages and blocks the blood flow resulting in poor circulation of blood.
  • Diabetes – ED can stem from damage to small blood vessels and nerves in the penis due to continuous high blood sugar, and it is more common with type 2 diabetes.
  • Low Testosterone – Testosterone is a vital sex hormone that is integral in creating an erection. Low levels of Testosterone can lead to Erectile Dysfunction.
  • Peyronie’s disease is a rare type of ED that results in painful erections due to a bend in the penis.
  • Medication side effects – Erectile Dysfunction is a common side effect of many types of medication, including antidepressants, opioids and blood pressure tablets.

Psychological causes:

  • Relationship problems – issues within relationships can result in problems with arousal and can lead to performance anxiety causing ED.
  • Performance anxiety – feeling pressured, self-conscious, or expecting a certain outcome can impact sexual experiences and can lead to ED.
  • Conscious or subconscious stress, anxiety, depression and environmental stresses (work, family, etc) can all manifest as ED.
  • Overconsumption of pornography – overconsuming pornography can alter your experiences of real-life sexual experiences, and they may seem less stimulating as the expectation for arousal has been changed.

Some other common contributors of Erectile Dysfunction include lifestyle factors such as: being obese, using drugs, drinking excessively and lacking exercise.

Man suffering with erectile dysfunction



The good news is that the treatment options for Erectile Dysfunction are vast. Non-invasive treatments are often trialled first as they have the lowest risks.


If Erectile Dysfunction is due to psychological factors, counselling options can be extremely beneficial in treating ED with no invasive procedures required. Overcoming the psychological barriers combined with other options such as the P-shot often work well together to treat ED.


Medications such as Viagra, Tadalafil, Levitra, and Spedra are all PDE5 inhibitor medications used to treat erectile dysfunction by increasing the blood flow to the penis. These drugs only work when used together with sexual stimulation and won’t affect your sex drive. At least two-thirds of men find that one of these medications helps treat their ED, and medication is often one of the first treatment options due to its non-invasive factor and success rates. Even though some drugs that could treat ED, such as Viagra, no longer need a prescription, a consultation with a doctor is critical since the treatments will not resolve any underlying health conditions. A consultation also allows you to discuss potential risks, dosages and get answers to any questions you may have.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

If you have low testosterone levels, testosterone replacement therapy might be the route for you. TRP can improve erectile function in men with mild ED. However, it is unhelpful for those with moderate to severe ED. Men who have not responded to medication options (PDE5 inhibitors) might benefit from testosterone replacement therapy as it can improve the response to these medications by normalising the testosterone levels.

Penile pump

A penile pump is a vacuum device that can help erectile dysfunction and help men maintain an erection for penetrative sex. It works by drawing blood into the penis via air suction from a plastic tube that fits over the penis. Unlike some of the previous treatments discussed, a penile pump is not a cure for ED, but it can help to increase your ability to have sexual intercourse and is a great option to combine with other ED treatments such as medications. With proper training, 75 out of 100 men can get a working erection using a penile pump.

Penlie pumps do come with real risks of permanent damage to the penis and could lead to long erection issues. We strongly recommend using alternative treatments.

Bathmate is one of the biggest brands on the market, offering a wider range of pumps. If you do wish to go down this route, please take a look at their website.

Caverject Injections

If oral medication and other treatment options do not work for you, Caverject injections might be an option. These injections are prescription-only, and your doctor will decide if you are suitable for them. Caverject (Alprostadil), is approved for men with erectile dysfunction and it comes in two forms: intracavernosal injections (ICI) or through the urethra (IU therapy).

Intracavernosal Injections:

For intracavernosal injections (ICI), the drug is self-administered and injected into the side of the penis with a very fine needle. Your first shot should be in a doctor’s office for you to learn how to administer it before you self-inject. The success rate for men to achieve an erection for penetrative sex is as high as 85%.


IU Therapy:

For IU therapy, a pellet of the drug is put into the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). This option means you do not self administer and it may be less effective than the ICI option.


Priapus Shot

The Priapus Shot (PRP-shot) is a non-surgical procedure that can treat Erectile Dysfunction, increase the size and firmness of your erection, and boost sexual performance and stamina. The PRP-Shot involves your doctor drawing some of your own blood, spinning it in a special centrifuge to separate the components and then injecting the plasma that is rich in platelets into the Corpus Cavernosum (the area of the penis responsible for erections), which stimulates tissue growth and rejuvenating cells. Numbing cream is used to alleviate any discomfort, and some patients may experience immediate results; however, it can take 3-4 weeks for full results, typically lasting 12 months.

Dr. Matla is a GP with a particular interest in Men’s health. Since he is part of The British Society for Sexual Medicine (BSSM) with vast experience in Sexual Health, he is fully qualified to administer Priapus Shot (P-Shot).




Choosing an experienced, medically trained professional is vital when making your decisions to treat your erectile dysfunction. Your doctor should understand both the medical and psychological factors that could be causing your ED. Here at Dr Matla Medical Aesthetics, a free consultation is carried out to ensure you receive the safest treatment plan tailored to you.

Breaking the stigma and talking to a doctor is the first step in normalising this extremely common condition and finding a treatment plan suitable for you. With Dr Matla’s wealth of experience and ability to create a unique course of high-quality treatments for each patient, you’re only a consultation away from reaching your personal aesthetic goals.


Man happy with erectile dysfunction treatment results

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