Erectile Dysfunction (ED) or impotence is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sex. This does NOT affect ability to orgasm.

Occasionally men will have difficulty having an erection and this is not seen as reason for concern unless this continues to happen on consistent basis.

Doctor speaking to patient
Symptoms

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Difficulty maintaining an erection
  • Decreased libido
Causes

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

ED may be caused by emotional or physical issues that involve the brain, hormones, nerves and blood vessels.

Physical or Anatomical causes of erectile dysfunction

  • Heart disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Medications
  • Smoking
  • Peyronie’s disease — development of scar tissue inside the penis
  • Alcoholism
  • Surgery or radiation for prostate issues
  • Surgeries or injuries that affect the penis, testicles, back, pelvic area or spinal cord
Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction

  • Physical exam of penis, testicles and prostate as well as neurologic test
  • Blood tests, like PSA and testosterone
  • Urine tests (urinalysis)
  • Ultrasound of penile blood flow
  • Psychological exam to determine if stress or depression
Risk Factors

Risk Factors of Erectile Dysfunction

As you get older, erections might take longer to induce and may not be as firm.

Risk factors include:

  • Medical conditions – diabetes or heart disease
  • Smoking or tobacco products which restricts blood flow
  • Obesity
  • Prostate surgery or radiation to prostate
  • Traumatic Injuries to pelvic, this can damage the nerves or arteries to penis
  • Medications
  • Psychological conditions like depression
  • Continuous drug and alcohol use
Complications & Prevention

Complications & Prevention of Erectile Dysfunction

Complications

  • Poor sex life
  • Personal stress
  • Embarrassment
  • Relationship issues
  • Unable to get your spouse pregnant

Prevention

  • See your doctor
  • Manage diabetes
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Treat depression and mental health concerns