Impotence (or erectile dysfunction) is the inability to maintain an erection that is firm enough or that lasts long enough to have successful sexual intercourse. It is a frustrating condition that may have either physical or psychological causes. There are many physical causes that contribute to impotence: Depression, Stress, Performance Anxiety, Drugs, Blood Flow Problems, Nerve Impulse Problems, Surgery or Trauma, Serious Health Problems, and Lack of Hormones. These physical causes can be treated.
Depression may be related to erectile dysfunction. When sexual function improves, your self-image, feeling of well-being, and relationship with your partner should improve.
Stress (due to job, relationship of money problems) can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Performance anxiety happens to most men sometimes, but if it lasts, it can cause erectile dysfunction. Fear of failure causes erectile dysfunction. Fear of failure causes anxiety, which prevents erections, which leads to more fear of failure, it's a vicious cycle.
Use of drugs such as alcohol, peptic ulcer drugs, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, sedatives, hormones, some cold and allergy medicines, and cigarette smoking can cause erection problems.
Blood Flow problems can cause erectile dysfunction. Hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes, or Peyronie's disease (scar tissue in the penis) can reduce blood flow to the penis.
Nerve impulse problems can cause erectile dysfunction. These can be due to diabetes, strokes, spinal cord injuries, or diseases of the nervous system.
Surgery or trauma to the prostate, bladder, or rectum can cause erection problems.
Serious health problems can cause erectile dysfunction. These include severe liver, heart, or lung disease.
Lack of hormones caused by kidney disease, liver disease, alcoholism or treatment for prostate cancer can cause erection problems.
These physical causes can be treated. Depending on your diagnosis, your recommended treatment may be medical or surgical. Treatment options range from oral therapies, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressant therapy, and devices or self-injection therapy to produce erections. Surgical treatments include vascular surgery or implants. Your urologist will discuss options that may be appropriate in treating your impotence, as well as the risks and benefits of each option.
To treat a psychological cause, your urologist may recommend that you seek treatment from a qualified psychologist, psychiatrist, sex therapist, or marriage counselor. Counseling can often resolve the psychological problem causing impotence or be part of the recommended treatment. You and your partner may wish to go through counseling together.
Even if the problem is physical, there may be psychological side effects. Therefore, counseling may also be part of the recommended treatment for a physical problem.
If your current doctor does not regularly treat impotence problems, you might ask for a referral to a urologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of impotence.
When you see the urologist, share the answers from the self-test. The information will be valuable to the doctor as he or she determines a diagnosis.
Most importantly, you should know that persistent impotence is not a problem that you should have to live with, or that will just go away. It's important to make a medical appointment as soon as the problem becomes apparent, in order to avoid the psychological problems which may make it worse. Remember, impotence can be treated in almost every case.
Please keep in mind that the information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be used for self diagnosis. You should always consult your physician if you feel that you have a medical ailment.