Erectile dysfunction, also known as sexual impotence, is the chronic difficulty to achieve or maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse.
Signs and symptoms
- Loss of sexual desire
- Inability to get a firm erection
- Inability to maintain a firm erection long enough to have intercourse
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by psychological or physical reasons as well as a combination of the two.
Psychological causes include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Mental health disorders
Physical causes include:
- Clogged blood vessels
- Injuries to nerves or arteries that cause an erection
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Trauma to the pelvic area or spinal cord
- Peyronie's disease (formation of a scar inside the penis)
- Tobacco, alcohol, or substance abuse
If left untreated, erectile dysfunction can result in an unsatisfactory conjugal relationship, loss of self-esteem, and worsening depression and anxiety.
A diagnosis of erectile dysfunction is based on a discussion of your symptoms, a physical and psychological examination, blood and urine tests, and an ultrasound evaluation.
The various treatment options for erectile dysfunction include:
- Oral medications
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Urethral suppositories
- Testosterone replacement
- Psychological counselling
- Penis pump
- Penile implants