What is Impotence (Erectile Dysfunction)?

Impotence is a persistent state when penile erection is either insufficient or too short for desired sexual intercourse. Men at any age can face erectile problems after consuming too much alcohol or during stressful days but it is a medical problem when this lasts for a few weeks.


What is the frequency of impotence?

Studies show that half of men experience some form of erectile problem but only some openly talks about it and visits a physician. This is mainly because of cultural values that glorify erection. Therefore only a rough 10 percent seeks cure from medicine. In most cases the patient either tries folk remedies or totally ignores the problem.


What causes impotence?

A few decades ago the biggest problem behind impotence was thought to be emotional stress but recent findings show that at least two thirds of cases are biologic.

The biological process that ends with erection starts with chemical secretions in response to sexual stimuli. These chemicals stimulate the nerves coming to and from the penis. This makes blood fill in the spongy tissue of penis and at the same time block the veins in order to keep it hard. Therefore, any psychological or physiological problem can trigger persistent erectile dysfunction (ED). Here are some of the main causes:

  • Decreased blood flow to the penis as a result of narrowing of the arteries
  • Failure of the veins to close properly and leak back the incoming blood
  • Damage to the blood vessels to or from the penis
  • Hormone disorders
  • Side effects of medicines
  • Alcoholism or drug addiction
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Diseases affecting the spongy structure of the penis
  • Strokes and other nervous system diseases
  • Chronic diseases like kidney failure, liver failure, etc.
  • Psychological causes like anxiety, fear of sexual failure or emotional traumas


How is erectile dysfunction treated?

Treatment starts with a thorough research to find the underlying condition. There are several methods for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Depending on the patient’s condition, more than one method can be applied together.

Modern day treatments of erectile dysfunction can be as successful as 90+% thanks to the improvements in medicine. Here are some of very successful ED treatment approaches:

Vacuum devices: There are many different models of vacuum devices for ED treatment. The penis is placed in this tube and a vacuum is created by removing the air from the cylinder with the pump.

Injection into the penis: The patient or his/her partner is taught to inject medication to the spongy bodies of the penis before sexual intercourse in this very effective method.

Oral medication: There are several medications that can boost erection, but these drugs shall only be used with a physician’s advice.

Penile prostheses: Implanted into the penis, these devices create permanent hardness to the penis.

Organizing sexual life: Useful in cases with psychological origin, these practices (also called sex therapy) can be applied in addition to other treatment methods.

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