Impotence occurs when a man has problems getting or keeping an erection. Also known as erectile dysfunction, this problem will affect around one in ten men at some stage in their life, with problems becoming more likely in later life due to deterioration in circulation and other body systems.
It is important to distinguish between occasional impotence – caused by tiredness, over indulgence, or stress – which is experienced by most men from time to time and is generally nothing to worry about, and regular problems with achieving an erection, which will require treatment or therapy.
This article on male impotence is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
Causes of impotence
Contrary to popular belief, impotence is not all in the mind. Up to 70% of cases have at least some physical cause, and these can be wide ranging, including:
- M.S. or Parkinsons Disease
- Pelvic surgery
- Hormone imbalances
- Kidney disorders
- Angina, high blood pressure or poor circulation
- Smoking, alcohol, or drug use
- Certain prescribed drugs
- Prostate cancer
However, psychological factors also play a major part. Stress at work, worries about performance, relationship problems, sexual issues and indeed concern about impotence itself, can all cause or exacerbate the problem.
In most cases, there is a combination of both physical and psychological causes for impotence, and thus any treatment must involve both aspects.
Treatment for impotence
The first stage in your treatment is talking to your partner. It’s vital they understand so they’re able to help. Otherwise, they may inadvertently put you under pressure to perform and make the problem worse. Talking about any sexual issues may be all that’s needed to restore your confidence and solve the problem.
The next step is to visit your GP. With modern medical advances over 90% of impotence can now be cured or greatly improved, so it’s well worth setting aside any embarrassment. GPs and other health professionals are used to dealing with such matters and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Remember, this happens to around one in ten men.
Your GP will do some basic tests, such as reflexes – to test your nervous system, and blood tests - to check hormone levels and blood sugars. They may also examine your penis and scrotum. Your GP can also check your prescribed medication and change it if it may be a factor.