For a man to get an erection, a complex and precise symphony of electrical impulses, chemicals, blood flow and mental stimulation is required. So there’s a lot that can go awry along the way, including issues with the prostate gland and erectile dysfunction (ED).
In the U.S. alone, tens of millions of men have been affected by ED, whether it's chronic, sporadic or situational. In fact, one 2016 survey that relied on self-reporting placed the number as high as 47.5 million, and since shame about the condition often drives men not to report it, that number is likely higher. A vast majority of men who experience ED never seek treatment, possibly because it’s widely misunderstood to be caused primarily by psychological issues or thought to be merely a natural consequence of aging.
However, there are many cases in which ED has a physical cause, and can therefore be diagnosed and treated like any other medical issue. While these physical causes can be everything from blood