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Physiology of an Erection

Physiology of an Erection:            Refer to ‘HPTA Illustration’

By John Abdo

The penis seems to have a mind of its own when men are experiencing andropause or hypogonadism. The mind-penis connection (big head/little head) becomes impaired through declining hormone production, insufficient circulation of blood and diminishing penile responsiveness, to name a few.

As youngsters, it was a ‘sure thing’ that a man’s little head would obey commands from his big head. The mere thought of sex, or something sexy, was adequate to excite our little buddy. However, as men age, unfortunately, the connection between the big head and the little head is often hindered delaying the onset of erections while also making erections more challenging to sustain.

But before we play the brain-blame game, let’s take a deeper look at erection physiology to better understand what’s really going on:

Obtaining then sustaining an erection is made possible through a highly complex chain of psycho-biological processes that are under the control of the brain, hormones, nervous and circulatory systems, spinal column, testicles, prostate, and, of course, the penis. As a result of the thought of sex and/or a physical sexual sensation [sensuous touch], the Hypothalamus gland secretes an incredibly potent glandular-stimulating hormone called Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone [GnRH]. GnRH rushes out of the Hypothalamus and speeds it’s way to the Pituitary gland that’s just a fraction of an inch away.

The Hypothalamus is a ‘sensitive’ organ. By this I mean it reacts to our senses, all six of them. Yes, there are 6, not 5. What we See, Hear, Taste, Smell and Touch are the commonly known (five) senses however the 6th sense that I’m referring to relates to the mind’s ability to create sexual excitation and function by means of fantasy, desire, memory, lust or libido. Whenever any of these six senses incites the Hypothalamus sexual magic typically ensues.

Under normal conditions, the Pituitary gland responds to the GnRH signal by secreting two other fascinating hormones; Luteinizing Hormone [LH] and Follicular Stimulating Hormone [FSH]; collectively known as the Gonadotrophins. Once released from the Pituitary, LH and FSH travel all the way down to the gonads, i.e., the testicles, in particular, the testicles’ Leydig Cells. When the Pituitary gland produces LH and FSH from the GnRH signal, and when the gonads respond to LH and FSH, this is called a “Positive Feedback”.  [Feedback literally means that the gonads and penis are positively reacting to the brains’ Hypothalamus and Pituitary hormonal messengers].

However, if the Pituitary fails to respond to GnRH, or the gonads fail to respond to LH and FSH, then this is called “Negative Feedback”; sometimes referred to as Down Regulation, a condition many steroid users and andropausal men are all too well aware of. Negative Feedback results in a disruption, cessation or disconnection between the internal linkage of the brain, glands, hormones, gonads and penis, and results in varying degrees of andropause, hypogonadism, impotence, or just plain-old ED!

As an FYI, this glandular-hormonal cycle is scientifically referred to as the HPTA or HPGA: Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testicular Axis or Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis.

But Wait! There’s More!

Once the gonads are stimulated by the gonadotrophins (LH + FSH) the penis is then prepped for sexual activity, as an essential influx of penile blood flow must be created. Blood enters the penis through the dilation [or widening] of the tiny circulatory vessels of the penis that fill up, expand and harden the penis’ internal (expandable) spongy chambers called the corpus cavernosum. These tissues are analogous to when a sponge has been soaked in water it grows more voluminous, heavier and harder, and when the water is squeezed out it dramatically reduces in size, weight and firmness. Simply put, the more blood that gets pumped inside the corpus cavernosum the harder and bigger the penis swells up.

This swelling-up effect is produced by the circulatory vessels’ bio-mechanically permitting blood to penetrate into the penis; called vasodilation. This vasodilation process is made possible by yet another chemical agent we naturally produce called Nitric Oxide [NO]. But you might of guessed, as we age, and with poor lifestyle habits, the volume and potency of NO, and many other hormones, decline.

NO is imperative for penile vasodilation while it is also instrumental in allowing another key erection-producing chemical to be released into the penile blood supply, it’s called Cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate (cGMP). cGMP is also necessary to obtain erections however it’s role may be even more important for sustaining them. This key bio-chemical assists in trapping the blood once it’s inside the penis’s corpus cavernosum to sustain its firmness and size.

Without NO and cGMP a man cannot achieve an erection nor will he be able to sustain it long enough to win praises from his lover. Unfortunately, cGMP is destroyed by another enzyme the body naturally produces called Phosphodiesterase-V; popularly known as the acronym PDE-5.  PDE-5 binds to and impedes the actions of cGMP. The trick is to block, delay and/or inhibit PDE-5 so the NO/cGMP-cycle can perform their tasks for obtaining then sustaining firm erections.

Made popular by their multi-million dollar TV ad campaigns are the prescription-only erection pills Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. All three of these synthetic drugs are PDE-5 inhibitors, and very potent ones at that. Their actions block the PDE-5 enzyme so the erection-producing chemicals NO and/or cGMP can carry out their roles in vasodilation of the penis.

Truth be told, I have a problem with doctors issuing prescriptions for erection pills without administering a complete examination to their andropausal-complaining male patients. Prescription erection pills only focus on the final stage of the HPTA cycle serving ‘only’ as PDE-5 inhibitors that have (temporary) influence. This approach, obviously, targets the symptoms of ED while it totally ignores the cause/s for why millions of men are experiencing andropause in the first place. The little head is having problems but it’s often what’s inside the big head that’s actually causing all the dysfunctions.

Let Mom Help!

There are plenty of success-proven ‘natural’ ingredients that holistically target male sexual potency and penile functionality. These marvelous nutritional gifts from Mother Nature nourish and vitalize various body organs like the hypothalamus, pituitary, testicles, and prostate, and also serve as natural PDE-5 inhibitors promoting the production and release of NO and cGMP that stimulates penile vasodilation. That said, it’s best to seek natural, safe, success-proven alternatives that nourish both the ‘causes’ and the ‘symptoms’ of your sexual health concerns. Solely relying on prescription erection medications, again, are only temporary, target the symptoms and create an array of sickening side-effects.

Sexuality is an incredibly complicated science. Please regard this article as a brief, incomplete depiction of this sophisticated topic. Use it to better educate you and your doctor. If you’re experiencing any sexual performance challenges, or smart enough to plan to prevent, seek professional medical help from skilled sexual-health practitioners.

Be a wise guy. Using your big head in a prudent manner will certainly benefit how your little one performs!

Wishing You the Absolute Best of Health!

John Abdo

——————– e n d ———————-

 John Abdo is an Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach, Inductee into the National Fitness Hall of Fame, Award-Winning Health & Fitness Expert, and the author of the doctor-endorsed book, Ultimate Sexual Health & Performance™.  John is also the creator of Androzene® the high-potency male-potency formula men are relying upon to boost their sexual health and performances. The information contained in this article should not be construed as medical advice. For more information, please visit

June 8, 2012 - Posted by | Performance Library | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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