Are you finding that lately you’re suffering from erection problems? Recent evidence shows that depression could be a leading cause of erection problems in males 18-65. According to a recent study, depression may play a bigger role in erectile dysfunction (ED) than testosterone levels. Erection problems (or E.D) can have many causes.

Some are physical, such as heart disease and diabetes – and some are psychological and emotional, like depression and anxiety. Some times these causes can also overlap, making the situation even more complex.

Depression has been recognized as a contributing factor for ED before. Typically, when a man is sexually excited, his brain sends signals to his genitals that trigger an erection. But if a man feels depressed, his brain might not fully process these sexual feelings. The physical toll of depression may make him too tired and stressed to respond sexually as well. The hormone testosterone is important to a man’s sexual function, as it drives both libido and erections.

In this study, researchers from Finland and Estonia wanted to learn more about how depression and testosterone levels affected the erections of middle-aged men. Six hundred fourteen men living in Finland participated in the study. All of the men were born in 1945. Scientific questionnaires were used to evaluate the men’s erections and their depressive symptoms, if any.

The men also gave blood samples so that their testosterone levels could be checked. The research team found that depression and obesity were associated with erectile dysfunction in this group of men. But testosterone levels were not.

Kadri Suija, MD, of the University of Oulu in Oulu, Finland, and colleagues found a strong association between depressive symptoms and ED, but no association between free and total testosterone levels and ED, according to a paper published online ahead of print in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

“Depressive symptoms rather than testosterone levels should be taken into consideration while treating middle-aged men with erectile problems at the community level,” Dr. Suija’s group concluded. This points to the possibility that many men may be trying to treat their erection problems with testosterone therapy – when in fact depression could be the main problem causing their impotence.

While male enhancement supplements can dramatically improve sexual function, if you suspect you could be experiencing depression, see you doctor as soon as you can. There are many options for treating depression – and treating your depression may restore your sexual function sooner than you might think possible.