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Impotence is a widespread problem that affects millions of men. It may also occur at any age and at any time in a man's sexual life. While impotence is a problem for men, it also affects couples and families.
The good news is that thanks to recent medical advances, more and more men are discovering that they may overcome impotence and the surrounding feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and tension.
What Is Impotence?
A man who is impotent is persistently unable to get or keep an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. He may still have the ability to have an orgasm and father a child, but often cannot get or keep his erection.
Many men in certain situations, or at one time or another, are unable to get or keep an erection. This is considered normal and does not necessarily indicate a problem.
What Causes Impotence?
A man's inability to get and maintain an erection can be caused by many disorders. The causes can either be physical or psychological. For many men, the cause of impotence may be fairly easily identified. Once identified, proper treatment can be recommended to help them return to a satisfying sex life.
Psychological impotence is caused by a man's anxiety or fear that he will not be able to perform well sexually. This is often referred to as "performance anxiety." A man who is worried about getting an erection cannot relax and may not be able to get an erection.
Recent studies have shown that more than 80% of men suffering from impotence can trace the origin to a physical problem.
Physical impotence may be caused by:
physical disorders, such as an injury
diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension
Certain substances may also interfere with erections and cause physical impotence. These substances may include:
How Is the Cause of Impotence Determined?
A first step toward overcoming impotence is to have a qualified urologist determine whether the problem is psychological or physical. A urologist is a physician who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system.
A urologist will most likely start with a general conversation about the history of the problem. The physician may use different testing methods that, together with patient consultation, may help determine the problem's cause. Usually, a routine physical examination and blood test to determine hormone levels are required. Sometimes, special tests may be helpful, such as:
measuring the blood flow to the penis
checking nerve impulses to the penis
tracking erections experienced during sleep
Once the cause of impotence has been diagnosed, a method of overcoming impotence may be more readily recommended.
How Is Psychological Impotence Treated?
The preferred treatment for many men with psychological impotence is counseling or sex therapy. The following can provide this type of counseling:
Licensed marriage and family counselor
Other physician experienced in dealing with sexual problems
How Is Physical Impotence Treated?
There are many potential causes of physical impotence. Depending on the cause, the following treatment options are available:
Pills or injections (commonly used in hormone-related cases)
Vacuum erection devices
Penile injection therapy
Vascular reconstructive surgery and venous ligation
What Is the Process for Finding a Solution?
There is no one solution to impotence. Please call 1.866.261.5268 for more information on how to begin the process. Monterey Park Hospital has free monthly seminars on impotence causes and solutions. Check our events calendar for the next seminar.