What is impotence?
Impotence is the inability to achieve or sustain an
erection adequate for sexual intercourse. It is a
treatable condition affecting over 10 million men in
the United States alone. Yet, over 90% of affected
never receive treatment. This is often because they
are reluctant to discuss the subject with their doctor.
Facts on Impotence
Over 10 million men and their partners unnecessarily
suffer the effects of impotence. Today's treatment
enable most men, regardless of their age, to overcome
impotence. Clinical studies prove that up to 75% of
impotence cases aren't psychological. In fact, impotence
is often a symptom of an underlying physical condition
like high blood pressure or diabetes. Impotence can
be successfully treated. Doctors who specialize in
impotence (usually urologists) can show you safe, proven
ways to enjoy sex again.
What causes impotence?
Until recently, many health care professionals
believed impotence was psychological. Patients were
often told, "It's all in your head."
Today, experts have learned that up to 75% of impotence
cases aren't psychological in nature. Impotence is often
a symptom of an underlying physical condition or a side
effect of medication.
Most men experience occasional impotence at some time,
usually as a result of fatigue, temporary stress, or
excessive alcohol consumption. Temporary impotence is
not something to worry about. However, if the condition
persists or interferes with your normal sexual activity,
you should consider seeing a doctor who specializes
in treating impotence.
Among the physical causes of impotence are:
Men who experience a sudden
loss of erectile capability often have a psychological
to their condition. Psychological causes of impotence
- Blockage in the arteries
- Disease of the erectile tissue
of the penis
- Pelvic surgery and/or trauma
- Side effects of medications
- Chronic Disease (such as kidney
or liver failure)
- Hormonal/Endocrine problems
- Alcoholism and drug abuse
- Psychological Causes
Typically, patients whose impotence
is primarily psychological continue to have erections
while they sleep or when they get up in the morning.
Erectile Dysfunction can be a result or a sign of
problems, because of this impotence patients are evaluated
from the following chart, and treated based on their
fitness and current health.
- Stress and anxiety from work
- Performance anxiety
- Marital discord
- Unresolved sexual orientation
What kinds of doctors specialize
in the treatment of impotence?
As a group, urologists are most knowledgeable about
impotence and its treatments, and they are comfortable
discussing this sensitive subject. Many psychiatrists
and psychologists also treat impotence, but keep in
mind that up to 75% of impotence cases are not psychological
What happens during the first
The first visit with the doctor often involves an exam.
This exam will probably include your medical and sexual
history, followed by a physical examination and basic
laboratory tests. The results will help the doctor determine
the cause and extent of the condition and suggest possible
treatment options. Uncovering the underlying medical
condition or medication responsible for impotence is
an important first step in successful treatment.
Questions many men ask about
impotence and its treatment.
Q: When should I see a doctor about impotence?
A: Most men experience impotence at some time
in their lives as a result of stress, fatigue, or
alcohol consumption. This temporary impotence is generally
no cause for serious concern. If the situation persists
or interferes with normal sexual activity, consult
a physician who specializes in treating impotence.
Q: What treatments are available?
A: Currently, there are a number of options that
have been proven to be appropriate treatments for impotence.
A specialist can explain the best course of treatment
from among the following:
- Hormone Treatments
A small percentage of impotence cases are caused
by abnormal levels of sex hormones, like testosterone,
prolactin, and estrogen. Medications can restore
- Professional Counseling
Since impotence can sometimes result from a combination
of psychological and physical factors, counseling
may help reduce anxiety and overcome the condition.
This therapy is often used in combination with other
treatments as directed by a physician.
- Injection Therapy
Injection therapy produces erections within 5 to
20 minutes by relaxing the penile muscle tissue
and allowing blood to flow into the shaft of the
penis naturally. These erections generally last
30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Vacuum Devices
This treatment involves the use of an external vacuum
device and one or more tension rings. The vacuum
chamber is placed over the un-erect penis, and a
pump is used to produce an erection. Once an adequate
erection is produced, a tension band is slipped
around the base of the penis to maintain the erection.
- Penile Prostheses
This treatment involves the surgical placement of
a stationary or moveable device into the two sides
of the penis, allowing erections as often as desired.
These implants come in three forms, self-contained
inflatable, self-contained mechanical, and semi-rigid
rods. This treatment is not recommended until other
methods have been tried first.
- Surgical Treatment
This treatment is usually reserved for a small percentage
of patients. The goal is to correct blood flow to
the penis so that erections will occur naturally.
Notice: Information on this web site is provided for informational
purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You
should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating
a medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical
problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.