Causes of male impotence

Male impotence or sexual dysfunction has been very misunderstood by both physicians and the public.  In situations where the causes are obvious, such as in a spinal cord injury, the condition is often overlooked or and not addressed at all by doctors because of a lack of understanding or confusion.  Erectile dysfunction is a condition in which a man is unable to attain or maintain an erection hard enough for penetration or long enough for ejaculation.  This is different from libido, which is a desire for sexual intercourse.  Men who suffer from impotence often have no problem with libido.

Too often physicians and men believe that the cause of erectile dysfunction is psychological and not physical.  In the the majority of other or physical disabilities physicians have approached the problem from a biological standpoint and addressed the issue by learning and discovering the physiological causes, but in the condition of erectile dysfunction scientists began addressing the issue from a psychological standpoint.  This may have been because male impotence also impacts the man's ego and belief in his own self-worth.

An erection requires a precise sequence of events in order to be successful.  Any damage or disruption in either neurological, muscular or arterial factors will cause a problem with erectile dysfunction.  Each of these causes may also be related to other medical conditions which have thus far been undiagnosed and unrecognized.  Men who address these issues with their doctors may find that that they have another medical condition which, when treated, cures the erectile dysfunction.

At other times medications which are used to treat known medical conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, allergies, sleep disorders or obesity can be the cause.  These medications can include antidepressants, antihistamines, tranquilizers and appetite suppressant as well as medications to treat high blood pressure.  Because of the number of medications available on the market today to treat each of these different conditions, men are often able to find an alternative treatment for their medical condition which does not impact their sexual health.

Injury to the pelvic region is another cause for erectile dysfunction.  Injury or surgery in the pelvic region can impact the arterial blood supply to the penis which will therefore cause a condition of impotence.  Once the initial trauma or surgery has been dealt with it is often the man who discovers the condition and not his physician.

Although once thought of as the only reason for erectile dysfunction, psychological stress and other factors actually do play a part in the ability of a man to achieve a satisfactory erection.  Factors such as stress, anxiety, guilt or depression, as well as the fear of sexual failure, can be the cause of erectile dysfunction in up to 15% of reported cases.  Men will also report experiencing the same symptoms when the cause is an illness or using decongestant medications to treat and upper respiratory infection.

Other factors which impacts the ability of a man are smoking which affects the blood flow to the penis as well as hormonal abnormalities such as a low level of testosterone. Some men are born with a low level of testosterone and may suffer from primary erectile dysfunction for their entire life.  In some instances hormone replacement can assist in the treatment of this condition.


NetDoctor UK: Erectile Dysfunction

Andrology: Impotence

MayoClinic: Erectile Dysfunction

NHS Choices: Causes of Erectile dysfunction

MedlinePlus: Erection Problems
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