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It’s common for men to experience occasional problems getting or maintaining an erection, due to a minor illness or stress. But if erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs more than 25% of the time you should see your doctor.
ED is often a sign that you have a health-related problem, such as heart disease, diabetes or an endocrine (hormonal) disorder. These health conditions cause or contribute to erectile dysfunction, so treating them can help. If erection problems persist, your doctor can prescribe treatments that can help you get and maintain an erection.
Sometimes erectile dysfunction resolves on its own. Maybe you cut back on drinking, resolved the stress problems that were affecting your sex life, or finally quit smoking, to find to your delight that all systems were suddenly "go" again. But why wait to find out if it's coming back on its own? Do yourself a favor and get it checked out because ED is sometimes a harbinger for a more serious problem like heart disease or diabetes. An erection depends on the health of your blood vessels -- your penis needs to be engorged with blood to be erect. If you're having trouble getting or maintain an erection, it can be a clue that your blood vessels have been damaged by a buildup of cholesterol and debris (atherosclerosis) or that the high blood sugar of diabetes may have impaired nerve, vessel, or muscle function.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.