Erectile Dysfunction

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

Causes

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by psychological or physical reasons as well as a combination of the two.

Psychological causes include:

  • Stress
  • 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
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • 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

Complications

If left untreated, erectile dysfunction can result in an unsatisfactory conjugal relationship, loss of self-esteem, and worsening depression and anxiety.

Diagnosis

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.

Treatment

The various treatment options for erectile dysfunction include:

  • Oral medications
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Urethral suppositories
  • Testosterone replacement
  • Psychological counseling
  • Penis pump
  • Penile implants