Impotence is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection. Impotence is an older term, and the condition is now more commonly referred to as erectile dysfunction, or ED.
Erectile dysfunction is one of the more common health problems among men. Achieving an erect penis for sexual function is a complex process that involves a number of physical and psychological factors, and as a result, ED can be caused by a variety of different things. But the results are generally the same: A man with ED has trouble achieving or maintaining an erect penis that will allow him to engage in sex.
Causes of Impotence
The likelihood of having erectile dysfunction rises along with a man’s age, and a number of health conditions that relate to the body’s blood flow can also play a role in your risk of ED. Therefore, a man’s chances of getting ED seem to increase if he is over age 50, smokes or has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease or diabetes.
There are other factors that can lead to erectile dysfunction, as well. In some men, for example, it may be a warning sign of low testosterone levels in the body. Drug and alcohol abuse, some medical treatments and nerve damage can also contribute to erectile dysfunction, among other causes.
Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction
When it comes to treating erectile dysfunction, there are now a few oral medications that are available by prescription to help men achieve and sustain an erection. These drugs have success rates around 80 percent and very few side effects. In more extreme cases, there are also stronger medications available that achieve the same result by injecting them directly into the penis or placing a tiny suppository into the urethra. And in the most extreme instances of erectile dysfunction, such as those related to severe diabetes or heart disease, the surgical implantation of a prosthesis into the penis in order to achieve an erection may be a possibility.
SOURCES: FamilyDoctor.org; Urology Care Foundation.