Most men have trouble with erections from time to time, but for some men it’s a regular and more bothersome problem. erectile dysfunction (ED) can cause anxiety, depression and stress.

What are the causes?

ED can sometimes be a result of prostate cancer treatments like a prostatectomy—the surgical removal of all or part of a man's prostate. Other health problems like high blood sugar, heart disease, or trauma to the pelvic area can cause ED.

Sexual health is closely tied to a man’s overall health. Since ED is a blood flow issue, it might be an early sign you're at risk for a heart attack. To stave off ED, men should stay in shape, work out, eat well, not smoke, get routine exams and learn to manage their stress levels.

“‘There is a clear benefit from weight loss,’ Dr. Baum adds. ‘When you tell a man it can reverse his erectile dysfunction—that can be a great motivator.’”

Being proactive

If you have problems getting or keeping an erection, have less of a desire for sex or other issues that keep you from enjoying sex, talk to your doctor. Being open with your health providers will allow them to find the best treatment choices for you.

"There is a clear benefit from weight loss," states urologist Dr. Neil Baum. "For example, I see many men with ED. When I prescribe medication for them, I also suggest that they eat right and exercise.”

Obese men have a higher rate for ED due to weaker blood vessels. Reduced blood circulation may lead to difficulty in achieving erections.

"There is a clear benefit from weight loss," Dr. Baum adds. "When you tell a man it can reverse his erectile dysfunction—that can be a great motivator. I have seen many of my patients lose weight after being given this information, and they didn't need the ED medication anymore."