Erectile dysfunction (ED), also called impotence, is the type of sexual dysfunction in which the penis fails to become or stay erect during sexual activity. It is the most common sexual problem in men. Through its connection to self-image and to problems in sexual relationships, erectile dysfunction can cause psychological harm.
In about 80% of cases, physical causes can be identified. These include cardiovascular disease; diabetes mellitus; neurological problems, such as those following prostatectomy; hypogonadism; and drug side effects. About 10% of cases are psychological impotence, caused by thoughts or feelings; here, there is a strong response to placebo treatment.
The term erectile dysfunction is not used for other disorders of erection, such as priapism.
Treatment involves addressing the underlying causes, lifestyle modifications, and addressing psychosocial problems. In many cases, treatment is attempted by drugs, specifically PDE5 inhibitors (such as sildenafil), which dilate blood vessels, allowing more blood to flow through the spongy tissue of the penis (akin to opening a valve further in order to allow more water to enter a fire hose). Other treatments, less commonly used, include prostaglandin pellets, inserted in the urethra; smooth-muscle relaxants and vasodilators, injected into the penis; penile implants; penis pumps; and vascular reconstructive surgery.
What is Impotence (Erectile Dysfunction)?
Impotence means that a man’s penis doesn’t get hard enough to have sexual intercourse. The man cannot get or maintain an erection. The medical term is erectile dysfunction (ED).
ED is not the same as premature ejaculation.
The major causes of ED include:
- Vascular (blood vessel) disease — Erections happen when blood collects in the shaft of the penis. Vascular disease can limit the amount of blood flowing to or staying in the penis. Both can result in problems with erections.
- Vascular disease is the most common medical cause of impotence.
- Nerve damage — Nerves must be working normally for a man to get and keep an erection. Nerves can be damaged by diabetes, multiple sclerosis, prostate surgery, or damage to the spinal cord.
- Psychological factors — Psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, guilt, or fear can sometimes cause sexual problems. At one time, these factors were thought to be the major cause of impotence. Doctors now know that physical factors cause impotence in most men with the problem. However, embarrassment or “performance anxiety” can make a physical problem worse.
- Medications — Many medications cause problems with sexual function. These include drugs for high blood pressure, depression, heart disease, and prostate cancer.
- Hormonal problems — Abnormal levels of certain hormones can interfere with erections and sex drive. Hormonal problems, such as a low testosterone level, are an uncommon cause of impotence.
How Erections Work
During sexual arousal, nerves release chemicals that increase blood flow into the penis. Blood flows into two erection chambers in the penis, made of spongy muscle tissue (the corpus cavernosum). The corpus cavernosum chambers are not hollow.
During erection, the spongy tissues relax and trap blood. The blood pressure in the chambers makes the penis firm, causing an erection. When a man has an orgasm, a second set of nerve signals reach the penis and cause the muscular tissues in the penis to contract and blood is released back into a man’s circulation and the erection comes down.
When you are not sexually aroused, the penis is soft and limp. Men may notice that the size of the penis varies with warmth, cold, or worry; this is normal and reflects the balance of blood coming into and leaving the penis.
Erectile Dysfunction medication
- Caverject Impulse