DOCTOR Q & A:
Read what doctors have to say about Viagra
or ask your own question.
Select another topic:
Create a profile for personalized information and support aboutIMPOTENCE
Men with impotence, or erectile dysfunction, are unable to achieve and
maintain an erection long enough to complete satisfactory intercourse. Some
men have erectile dysfunction occasionally; others experience it often or
There are various causes of erectile dysfunction, including medication,
circulatory problems, diabetes and nerve damage, among others.
Sexual arousal is the first step in getting an erection. During arousal,
the brain allows opening of certain blood vessels in the penis, causing it
to fill with blood and become erect.
A number of medical conditions may cause impotence. Many of these
conditions are more common in older people; not surprisingly, chances of
erectile dysfunctions increase with advancing age.
Medical conditions that increase the risk of impotence include:
1. Vascular diseases and diabetes, which affect the proper functioning of
2. Injuries to the spinal cord or brain, or neurological diseases such as
Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
3. Surgery or radiation to the prostate, bladder, rectum or colon, which
can cause damage to nearby nerves and interfere with signals that must pass
between the brain and the sexual organs to allow erection and orgasm.
Approximately 20 percent of all cases are due to psychological causes,
including stress, anxiety or depression, anger, fatigue, boredom, fear of
failure, fear of infection and problems with self-esteem. In many cases,
both psychological and physical reasons lie at the root of the condition.
Repeated difficulty in sustaining an erection or the inability to achieve
Looking at medical and sexual histories, as well as a physical examination
are the keys to investigating erectile dysfunction. Lab tests may be
helpful in some cases.
Approximately 95 percent of impotence patients find a treatment that works
for them. The treatment depends upon the cause and severity of the case,
the cost and the preferences of both the patient and his partner. Be aware
that there may be side effects with some treatments.
For impotence due to anxiety, the oral medication Viagra has helped many
men regain their sexual functioning. Viagra is also very effective for
impotence that sometimes follows prostate surgery and is helpful in many
other organic conditions.
Men who haven't found success with Viagra can try another drug called
Alprostadil. The drug is available in pellets, which are placed into the
opening of the end of the penis, or in a liquid that is injected into the
Other treatments include vacuum therapy, penile implants and vascular
surgery to repair blood flow to the penis. Testosterone replacement may
help a small number of men whose impotence is due to a testosterone
deficiency. Psychological counseling can help men with impotence due to
WebMD terms and conditions.
- Ask a physician to take a second look at your medications. A wide range of
drugs, including anti-depressants, anti-histamines, and medications to
treat high blood pressure, pain and prostate cancer can cause impotence.
- Limit alcohol. Mood-altering substances such as alcohol and marijuana play
a role in impotence.
- Stop smoking. Smoking has been shown to affect blood flow in blood vessels
and may cause impotence.
- Get educated. Education may be helpful in preventing a minor case from
cascading into a serious one.
- Be cautious when doing physical activity. Injuries to the pelvic area,
particularly those associated with bicycle riding, water sports, gymnastics
and horseback riding, can cause impotence.