ED Types

Are There Different Types of Erectile Dysfunction?

This website may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read more.

Erectile dysfunction, commonly referred to as ED, affects a significant portion of men worldwide. It is a condition that affects a man’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. There are various types of erectile dysfunction, each with its own set of causes and symptoms.

Understanding the different types of ED is essential in identifying the underlying causes and finding suitable treatment options. In this article, we explore the different types of erectile dysfunction, their causes, and potential treatment options.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that affects millions of men worldwide. It is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. While occasional difficulty getting or maintaining an erection is not uncommon, persistent problems can be an indication of ED.

The symptoms of ED may include difficulty achieving an erection, maintaining an erection throughout sexual activity, or reduced sexual desire. The condition can also have a negative impact on self-esteem, relationships, and overall quality of life.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), approximately 30 million American men experience ED to varying degrees. The prevalence of the condition increases with age, with estimates suggesting that up to 70% of men over the age of 70 experience some form of ED.

Types of Organic Erectile Dysfunction

Organic erectile dysfunction is caused by physical factors, such as vascular problems, neurogenic causes, and endocrine disorders. It is the most common type of ED, affecting around 70% of men with erectile dysfunction.

Vascular Causes: Vascular causes are the result of poor blood flow to the penis. This can be a result of an underlying condition such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, or diabetes. It can also be caused by smoking, which damages blood vessels and reduces blood flow.

Neurogenic Causes:Endocrine Disorders:
Neurogenic causes are the result of nerve damage due to conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or spinal cord injuries. These conditions can interfere with the nerve signals that control blood flow to the penis.Endocrine disorders occur when there is a hormonal imbalance. Low levels of testosterone can lead to ED, as can conditions such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and Cushing’s syndrome.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis of organic ED involves a physical exam and medical history, followed by tests to determine the underlying cause. Treatment options include addressing the underlying medical condition, such as improving blood pressure or managing diabetes. Medications, such as PDE5 inhibitors, can also be effective in treating ED caused by vascular issues. In some cases, surgical interventions such as penile implants may be recommended.

Why you should trust AnswerGator. Our team of writers and editors works hard to fact-check all of our information and ensure that it is up-to-date and trustworthy. Read more.

Types of Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction

Psychogenic erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological factors, often related to stress, anxiety, depression, or relationship problems. The brain plays a crucial role in the process of achieving an erection, and any disturbance to the psychological state can interfere with this process.

Some common psychological causes of psychogenic ED include:

  • Stress: High-stress levels can cause a physical response in the body that makes it difficult to achieve an erection. Stressful situations such as work, financial problems, or relationship issues can all contribute to ED.
  • Anxiety: Performance anxiety is a common psychological cause of ED, often affecting men who feel pressure to perform sexually. This can cause a vicious cycle, as the fear of failure can lead to further difficulties in achieving an erection.
  • Depression: Depression can cause a lack of interest in sexual activity and in turn, lead to ED. Some medications used to treat depression can also cause ED as a side effect.

If psychological factors are suspected to be the cause of ED, a mental health specialist may be able to help. Psychological therapy, counseling, and stress management techniques such as meditation or yoga may also be effective in treating psychogenic ED.

How is Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosed?

Psychogenic ED may be diagnosed through a psychological examination, which can assess any underlying mental health conditions or relationship issues. Blood tests or physical exams may also be performed to eliminate any physical causes of ED.

Mixed Erectile Dysfunction

Mixed erectile dysfunction occurs when physical and psychological factors contribute to the condition. The physical causes may result in psychological distress, leading to ED, or vice versa.

For example, a man with diabetes may experience erectile dysfunction due to the physical effects of the disease on his vascular and nervous systems. The resulting psychological distress may further exacerbate his ED symptoms.

Drug-Induced Erectile Dysfunction

In some cases, medications can cause erectile dysfunction (ED) as a side effect. If you suspect that your medication is causing ED, speak to your doctor before stopping any prescribed medication. They can advise you on alternative treatments or adjust the dosage or timing of your current medication.

Some common medications that can lead to ED include:

Medication TypeExamples
AntidepressantsProzac, Paxil, Zoloft
AntihypertensivesDiuretics, beta-blockers, calcium-channel blockers
Hormone drugsTestosterone replacement therapy, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors
PainkillersNSAIDs, opioids
Chemotherapy drugsProcarbazine, vinblastine

If you are experiencing ED as a result of medication, it is important to remember that this type of ED is typically reversible and improves once the medication is stopped or the dosage is adjusted.

Types of Lifestyle-Related Erectile Dysfunction

Lifestyle factors can play a significant role in causing erectile dysfunction. While it’s true that some men may be more genetically susceptible to ED, leading an unhealthy lifestyle can increase the chances of developing the condition.

Here are some lifestyle factors that contribute to ED:

Lifestyle FactorDescription
ObesityCarrying excess weight puts additional strain on the heart and circulatory system, leading to problems with blood flow.
SmokingTobacco use can damage blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the penis and causing ED.
Excessive Alcohol ConsumptionDrinking too much alcohol can damage the liver, affect hormone levels, and cause nerve damage that contributes to ED.
Sedentary LifestyleLeading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and other health conditions that contribute to ED.

Thankfully, lifestyle-related ED can often be improved by making positive changes. Losing weight, quitting smoking, moderating alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly can all help reduce the likelihood of developing ED.

Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction

There are a variety of treatment options available for men experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED), depending on the underlying cause and severity of symptoms.


The most common treatment for ED is medication. PDE5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis), are often prescribed as a first-line treatment. These medications work by increasing blood flow to the penis, resulting in an erection. It is important to note that these medications require sexual stimulation in order to be effective.

Other medications, such as alprostadil, can be injected into the penis or inserted as a suppository to help achieve an erection.


Therapy can also be an effective treatment for ED, particularly for men with psychogenic ED. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals identify and address negative thoughts and feelings that may contribute to ED.

Lifestyle Changes

Adopting healthier lifestyle habits, such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and losing weight, can also improve ED symptoms. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can also help improve overall cardiovascular health, which is important for erectile function.

Surgical Interventions

If other treatment options are not effective, surgical interventions may be considered. Penile implants, for example, can be inserted to help maintain an erection. However, this is typically only considered after other treatment options have failed.

Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction

There are various treatment options available for erectile dysfunction, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Some effective treatment options include:


Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra), are commonly prescribed for ED. These medications work by increasing blood flow to the penis, helping to achieve and maintain an erection. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medications for ED, as they may interact with other medications or have potential side effects.


Counseling or psychotherapy may be helpful in treating psychogenic ED, as it addresses the underlying psychological issues that contribute to the condition. Couples therapy may also be beneficial in addressing relationship problems that may be contributing to the ED.

Lifestyle changes

Incorporating healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and engaging in regular physical activity, can improve both overall health and ED symptoms. Managing stress and getting enough sleep can also be helpful in reducing ED symptoms.

Potential surgical interventions

In some cases, surgical interventions, such as a penile implant or vascular surgery, may be recommended to treat ED. These options are typically reserved for cases where other treatments have been ineffective.