Erectile Dysfunction or ED is the inability to obtain and maintain an erection long enough to have satisfying sexual intercourse. Also known as impotence, it can affect any man post-puberty but is most likely seen in men over 40 with the probability increasing with age.

Not able to get an erection occasionally is something that is known to happen. However, if ‘occasionally’ turns into ‘frequently’, it can lead to stress, low self-confidence and the relationship with your partner takes a hit. Finding out the reasons for ED is the first step to treating the dysfunction.Erectile dysfunction may be due to various physical and psychological conditions. Causes may include- depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, heart diseases, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, substance abuse, a side effect to medicines, age and smoking.

Please try and cut down on smoking and take help of natural supplements for ED, too.

Smoking is considered one of the major reasons for erectile dysfunctions in men irrespective of their age. While smoking once in a while may not lead to ED, regular smoking not only reduces the quality of the sperm but also impacts the sexual performance.To understand how smoking causes ED, one must understand how erections are caused.

Erection is the result of the synchronized working of the brain, nerves, hormones, muscles and blood vessels. On mental or physical arousal, the brain sends a hormonal response that releases the chemical nitric oxide which in turn triggers the muscles of the penis to relax. This allows the blood to flow to the tissues in the penis. Erection is achieved when the penis is filled with blood. Closing of the blood vessels helps in maintaining the erection. After sex, the blood vessels to the penis open up, letting the blood flow out.

The chemicals in cigarette smoke affect the heart, brain, kidneys and other tissues in the body. Smoking or excessive use of tobacco is known to reduce the level of free nitric oxide which is essential for muscle relaxation in the penis. Also, smoking is one of the main reasons for atherosclerosis- the plaque build-up in the arteries. This plaque obstructs the flow of blood through vessels leading to circulatory problems like ED.

Studies have shown that the severity of erectile dysfunction is dependent on the level of exposure to cigarette smoke. So a man in his twenties who is a regular and a heavy smoker (> 20 cigarettes/day), is 60% more likely to suffer from ED compared to an occasional smoker or non-smoker in their forties.

However, not all is lost. A gradual decrease in smoking or complete quitting is known to cause improvements in sexual performance and a reduction in ED. In the case of longer exposure to smoking and weighing in the age factor, just quitting smoking might not help. In which case, erectile dysfunction drugs can be used in maintaining the erection.