What is impotence or erectile dysfunction?
Impotence or, more clinical, erectile dysfunction is the inability to maintain an erection of the penis for satisfactory sexual intercourse regardless of the capability of ejaculation. The recent introduction of effective medication has increased awareness of this previously little appreciated disorder. Erectile dysfunction is not a disease but more of a signal that something else may be a problem. Erectile dysfunction is a common condition affecting over 50% of men to some degree. Half of men ages 40-70 have experienced this condition to some degree, yet only a small number seek help from their doctors.
Impotence is a consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Medical professionals often use the term "erectile dysfunction" to describe this disorder and to differentiate it from other problems that interfere with sexual intercourse, such as lack of sexual desire and problems with ejaculation and orgasm. This fact sheet focuses on impotence defined as erectile dysfunction. Impotence can be a total inability to achieve erection, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only brief erections. These variations make defining impotence and estimating its incidence difficult. Experts believe impotence affects between 10 and 15 million American men. In 1985, the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey counted 525,000 doctor-office visits for erectile dysfunction.
Impotence usually has a physical cause, such as disease, injury, or drug side-effects. Any disorder that impairs blood flow in the penis has the potential to cause impotence. Incidence rises with age: about 5 percent of men at the age of 40 and between 15 and 25 percent of men at the age of 65 experience impotence. Yet, it is not an inevitable part of aging. Impotence is treatable in all age groups, and awareness of this fact has been growing. More men have been seeking help and returning to near-normal sexual activity because of improved, successful treatments for impotence. Urologists, who specialize in problems of the urinary tract, have traditionally treated impotence--especially complications of impotence.
Sexual dysfunction can sometimes be caused by disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, vascular disease, heart disease, nervous system disorders, and depression as well as an unwanted side effect from some medications. Male sexual dysfunction may be the symptom of such disorders that brings them to the doctor's office in the first place. Sexual health and function are important in determining a man's quality of life. As Americans age, disorders such as erectile dysfunction are becoming increasingly apparent. Because this subject is discussed widely in the media, men and women of all ages are seeking guidance in an effort to improve their relationships and experience satisfying sex lives.
The successful treatment of erectile dysfunction has been shown to improve sexual intimacy and satisfaction, improve sexual aspects of quality of life as well as overall quality of life, and relieve symptoms of depression.
More information on impotence (erectile dysfunction)
What is impotence or erectile dysfunction? - Impotence is the inability of the male to have an erection. Some men may become impotent after having diabetes for a long time because the nerves or blood vessels have become damaged. Impotence may have a physiological or psychological basis.
How does erection occur? - Erection begins with sensory and mental stimulation. Impulses from the brain and local nerves cause the muscles of the corpora cavernosa to relax, allowing blood to flow in and fill the open spaces.
What causes impotence? - A common cause of impotence is a high level of atherosclerosis in the arteries feeding the penis. Damage to arteries, smooth muscles, and fibrous tissues, often as a result of disease, is the most common cause of impotence.
What are the physical causes of impotence? - Physical impotence occurs when there is a problem with any of the systems needed to get or maintain an erection. Hardening of the arteries can affect the artery leading to the penis so that it cannot dilate enough to deliver all the blood necessary for an erection.
What are the psychological causes of impotence? - Psychological causes of impotence often include work pressures, financial worries, fear of aging, or frustration with relationships. Depression and anxiety disorders are cited as the most common causes of psychological impotence.
How is impotence (erectile dysfunction) treated? - Treatment depends on the cause. Testosterone supplements may be used for cases with hormonal deficiency. Drugs for treating impotence can be taken orally or injected directly into the penis.
What're non-prescription treatments for impotence? - Among the herbs used for erectile dysfunction are yohimbine, gingko biloba (to increase blood flow), ginseng, pygeum, and muira puama. A penile sheath is a rigid or semi-rigid support put over the penis to support it for intercourse.
What is MUSE? - MUSE is short for "medicated urethral system for erection." This treatment is based on the discovery that the urethra can absorb certain medications, which can then pass into the surrounding erectile tissue creating an erection.
What is Viagra (sildenafil citrate)? - Viagra (sildenafil citrate), a prescription medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, is the first pill available that's been proven to improve erections in most men with impotence.
What is Levitra (vardenafil)? - Levitra (vardenafil HCl) is a PDE inhibitor drug. This medication helps improve erection during sexual arousal and activity but erection should end after sexual activity is complete.
What is Cialis (tadalafil)? - Tadalafil (Cialis?) is a drug used to treat male erectile dysfunction (impotence). The generic name for this compound is tadalafil.
What about penile injection therapy? - Penile injection therapy is non surgical technique used to treat impotence. Penile injections have the advantage of not involving surgery. They are also effective in many dialysis patients.
What are penile implants for impotence? - Penile implants (often called "internal penile pumps") are one of several erectile dysfunction treatment options. The inflatable penile prosthesis is a pump system surgically placed in the penis.
What is hormonal therapy for impotence? - Sexual desire (libido) and an overall sense of well-being are likely to improve when serum testosterone levels (the level of the male hormone in the blood) are restored.