Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is commonly known as impotence, and is a condition whereby a man is unable to get or keep an erection of the penis. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by an underlying medical condition, stress or any psychological or emotional concern. Heavy alcohol intake is also known to increase the likelihood of suffering erectile dysfunction, hence colloquial expressions such as 'brewer's droop'.

An assessment of erectile dysfunction will usually begin with an attempt to ascertain whether the condition is a psychological or physical one. This can be easily determined as physical conditions which prevent successful erections will nearly always prevent erections being developed at all; therefore, a man who is able to develop an erection during sleep, for example, but not the rest of the time, will usually be suffering from erectile dysfunction with a psychological root.

There are some prescription medications which cite erectile dysfunction as a side-effect, and these include some of the SSRIs. In extreme cases, erectile dysfunction brought on by long-term use of SSRIs can be long-lasting or even permanent. Fortunately, this is quite rare. Erections are developed when the penile shaft is massaged or manipulated, and this can be done manually (by hand) or psychogenically, when the man is exposed to erotic stimuli. This results in the release of nitric oxide, which causes the arterial muscles of the penis to relax, and an erection is developed. For a 'manual' erection, the peripheral nerves and spinal cord must be working; and for a 'mental' erection, the limbic system of the brain is utilized.

Whether the erection occurs as the result of physical or mental stimuli, a working neural system, adequate testosterone and healthy pituitary glands are necessary. Where erectile dysfunction is not a result of a treatable medical condition, such as diabetes, treatment has traditionally been difficult. Psychological impotence can be treated in a variety of ways, specific to the affected man, but the process can be lengthy. In severe cases, surgery and implants are available. But in the 1990s, Viagra was developed and treatment for erectile dysfunction became much simpler and much less distressing – and changed the lives of many men and their partners around the world.

Understanding Erectile Dysfunction

A fair number of men suffer from erectile dysfunction or ED - mainly known as impotence. This is a daunting health condition that renders one unable to get or keep an erection. Even if patients do get an erection, it is barely suitable for satisfactory sexual intercourse.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

Impotence can occur due to varied causes including psychological and drugs. Drugs like anti depressants and nicotine increase your chances of becoming impotent by a huge margin. Stress, depression and myriad other psychological factors may cause erectile dysfunction. In some people, impotence will only last a few hours while for others it takes days-but for some people, this is a physical impairment that could last all their lives. Lifestyle causes of erectile dysfunction include smoking, alcohol consumption and poor exercise. All these contribute to unnecessary weight gain which eventually leads to clogging of blood vessels. Blood is the very essence of erection and if there isn't enough of it in the penile shaft at peak arousal, sex will not be satisfactory.

Treatment methods

Depending on its cause and thereby type (psychological, physical), impotence is treated using varied means. Psychological impotence is easily treated by counseling and motivation. The physician will adopt methods to help you appreciate yourself and sort out issues that may be inhibiting factors to a proper erection. When drugs cause impotence, it is wise to stop using them. However, if these drugs are meant to treat another condition, it is only wise to consult your doctor for a prescription change.

If you see the symptoms of impotence, it is best to make as many lifestyle changes as possible. Cut the fat in your diet and stop smoking to reduce the chances of ED. In case impotence is caused by an underlying disease like diabetes or cancer, treating it would be the only cure. Experts on this condition give a stern warning to those who opt to seek remedies online. The internet is full of unscrupulous people selling substandard products and it is better to see a licensed practitioner for proper medication.

There are some people who are more susceptible to this condition than others. Studies show that men aged 60 and above have four times the chance of becoming impotent than their younger counterparts. Physical impotence is harder to treat as this often requires surgical intervention.


Besides the inability to enjoy sex, impotence has a negative effect on the patient as well as those around him. The partner will be deprived of sex and the man will suffer embarrassment. In such a situation it is advisable to seek professional help.

Though impotence is usually characterized by failure to get a proper erection, it is important to let your doctor now exactly when it began. This will make it easier to make a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan. If you notice the signs of impotence, it is only wise to consult your doctor for best advice. You do not have to suffer in silence as there are a number of online resources to help you handle impotence with as much discretion as you wish.