Impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to obtain an erection or maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. Up to 30 million men in the United States are affected by erectile dysfunction. ED becomes more common as men age, with incidence commonly occurring in men between the ages of 40-70 years. Normally an erection happens when blood flows into the penis is increased by dilating blood vessels and blood flow out of the penis is decreased due to contraction of muscles. Erectile dysfunction occurs due to vascular, psychological, neurologic, and hormonal causes. Sexual arousal in men involves not only nerves, muscles, and blood vessels, but also emotions, hormones, and the brain. ED can occur due to a medical condition, such as diabetes, a psychological barrier (i.e., excessive anxiety), or a combination of both. There are many options available for men who deal with impotence and treatment often helps resolve the issue without complications.
Common symptoms of impotence are:
- Reduced sexual desire
- Inability to achieve an erection
- Brief erections
- Inability to ejaculate