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Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence) – Causes And Treatment

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Erectile Dysfunction

Impotence (also known as an erectile dysfunction) is a disease that affects 1 in 10 male patients. Although it is a treatable disease, only 10% of all patients experiencing this problem have requested medical aid. Treating impotence is a very important process that should not be avoided!

What is impotence?

Impotence, also called erectile dysfunction, is the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. The term comes from Latin, where the word impotentia means “lack of power.” Impotence is not the same as the reduction or loss of sexual desire. Impotence refers to the inability to use the penis for intercourse, even if the desire and opportunity are present.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction

The only symptom of impotence is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse.

What causes impotence?

The main factors that trigger erectile dysfunction can be either physical or psychological. The cause of impotence among young people is generally a psychological one. The most common psychological causes of erectile dysfunction are stress and anxiety. Other factors, such as marital conflict, depression, or the existence of other sexual orientations may contribute to the onset of the disease as well. When men age, the causes of erectile dysfunction are most likely of organic nature. Disorders responsible for most cases of impotence are diabetes, atherosclerosis, vascular disease (either blocked arteries or obstructed penis valves), spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis or hormonal disorders. The use of drugs can also cause the appearance of erectile dysfunction. Most common drugs that are known to cause impotence are antihypertensive drugs and psychoactive antidepressants. Propecia, a drug used to combat hair loss, has also been linked with erectile dysfunction. Several Propecia lawsuits have been filed by victims claiming severe erectile dysfunction as a result of taking the drug. Other factors that trigger erectile dysfunction are smoking and alcohol consumption.

Diagnosing impotence

The diagnosis of impotence can be done by the physician, after performing specific tests. If the physical consultation reveals that the testicles are smaller than normal, the doctor may recommend testing the testosterone serum dosage. Through this test, the doctor can determine whether the erectile dysfunction is caused by a hormonal dysfunction or not. Another diagnostic method is the international index of erectile function: this is a questionnaire with 15 questions that the patient must answer. Based on the patients’ answerss, the pjysician can determine the severity of impotence. In some cases, an ultrasound procedure that measures blood flow to the penis can also be used. Another type of investigation, called angiography, can help detect the presence of a blocked blood vessel in the penis. The angiography is a special X-ray procedure that uses the injection of a contrast substance in order to enhance the image. Neurological tests assess nerve transmission problems in the brain. If the doctor suspects that one of the administered medication could be the cause of impotence, he can replace that particular medication with something similar.

Erectile DysfunctionTreating impotence

The type of treatment recommended will depend on the cause of impotence. There are two options, one being the psychological treatment and the other being medication. Drug treatment based on Sidenafil citrate (better known as Viagra) is one of the most popular. Men whose impotence is caused by hormone deficiencies, may receive synthetic hormones. Synthetic hormones are only prescribed after testing the hormone levels. In general, those who have a history of prostate cancer do not receive hormone injections or pills, because male hormones may increase the cancerous cell growth. In some cases, vascular surgery may be necessary to help increase penile blood flow. If the impotence is caused by some psychological causes, couple therapy can very useful.