What is ED and its treatment?

Have you ever had problems in the bedroom? Had problems with keeping an erection? If so, you might have wondered:

“ How come I'm sexually aroused, but can't get an erection?”

" Why does my performance drop when I’m not feeling well?”

Although you may have these questions, it can be difficult to open up to people about it. That is what this page is for - to provide you with answers. Knowing the causes of ED (Erectile Dysfunction) and the correct treatment can help improve your performance and clear your mind from doubt. In this section, we will explain the mechanism of what causes an erection and what ED treatments are.


  1. Mechanism of erection
  2. Causes of ED
  3. Treatments of ED

1. Mechanism of erection

When a man is sexually aroused or sexually stimulated, his brain transmits a signal -or order- through the nerves to get an erection. This signal causes blood to flow into the corpus cavernosum of the penis, causing the penis to expand and become erect.

In other words, ED (Erectile Dysfunction) occurs when either the neurotransmissions, blood flow, or both fail to function properly.

2. Causes of ED

According to the ED Medical Guidelines, about 35% of people in Japan between the age of 40 to 70 years old are assumed to have some form of ED - this includes minor ED too. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, ED is aroused by the dysfunctions of neurotransmissions or blood flow. The causes for the dysfunctions can be divided into the following three categories:

※From ED Medical Guidelines [3rd Edition]

  • Organic causes
  • Psychogenic causes
  • Combination of organic and psychogenic causes

【Organic causes】

Organic causes stem from the inability to get an erection due to physical factors. In this case, the nerves and blood flow do not function properly and leads to erectile incompetence. Other physical factors include but are not limited to aging, lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and nerve damage from accidents or illness in the past that can result in ED. As for lifestyle-related diseases, drinking and smoking are also involved, so you need to be careful about the amount and frequency.

【Psychogenic causes】

Psychogenic causes result from the inability to get an erection due to mental reasons. These reasons could include failed experiences of sexual intercourses in the past and/or pressure to achieve pregnancy with a partner. Stress in daily life and work can also affect ED.

【Combination of organic and psychogenic causes】

Both organic and psychogenic causes can affect ED simultaneously.

3. Treatments of ED

The most common treatment for ED is to prescribe medicine and see the results, this is the case for all patients regardless of if they have organic causes, psychogenic causes, or both. At the same time, if the main factor stems strictly from health problems, the patient's lifestyle needs to be reconsidered. If the main factor is related to psychogenic reasons, counseling and partner dialogue should be conducted to remove the factor.

There are mainly three types of medicine people commonly use in Japan. Among the three, you might have heard of “Viagra” before. The main differences between these three are the time until its effect appears and its side effects.

Click here for detailed differences between Viagra, Levitra and Cialis.

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)

So far we described the causes and treatments of ED. The best way to solve your problem is to talk about the problem with a specialist. We, eLife, offers online consultations with doctors from partnered medical institutions. Worrying about your problem with ED by yourself, can worsen its effects, so do not hesitate to talk with a specialist.