Erectile Dysfunction

AA036785Erectile dysfunction (ED)–sometimes called impotence–is a form of sexual dysfunction in men that interferes with either the ability to obtain an erection or to maintain an erection–often both.

What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Anytime a man has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, he is experiencing erectile dysfunction. When erectile dysfunction becomes so frequent that it interferes with a man’s sex life, however, a doctor might diagnose him with erectile dysfunction.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
A number of factors can cause erectile dysfunction, and ED can sometimes indicate a health problem, so men with frequent ED should talk to their doctors. However, occasional erectile dysfunction is normal. Common causes of periodic erectile dysfunction include:

  • Performance anxiety about sexual performance, including anxiety about the ability to get or maintain an erection.
  • Use of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Anxiety associated with sleeping with a new partner.
  • Switching to a new barrier birth control method; condoms can reduce stimulation and might make it more difficult for some men to maintain an erection, especially at first.
  • Stress or distraction.

Erectile dysfunction is more common as men age. When erectile dysfunction is frequent, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy; a man becomes anxious about his ability to perform and then loses his erection. Several health conditions can cause frequent erectile dysfunction including:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Cardiovascular and circulatory problems
  • Depression
  • Lifestyle choices, particularly smoking and relationship problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes

How is Erectile Dysfunction Treated?
When erectile dysfunction is caused by an underlying health problem, treatment usually involves medical care for the health issue. Drug treatment with prescription medications such as Viagra and Cialis are the most popular choices for men with erectile dysfunction. These drugs increase blood flow to the penis, making it easier to get and retain an erection. Some men with cardiovascular problems should not take these medications and, rarely, they can lead to an erection that lasts for several hours.

Therapy–including couples counseling–can be helpful when erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological issues or relationship problems. Some men opt to mechanically induce an erection using a pump, but this method has fallen out of favor with the advent of erectile dysfunction drugs.


  1. Mayo Clinic Staff C. (2012, February 10). Erectile dysfunction. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 08-7-2015

  • Leave a Comment
  • Beny


    March 16th, 2016 at 8:23 PM

    I have ED

  • mkdrills


    February 4th, 2017 at 10:01 PM

    Well, ED can also be corrected with right foods and following a tight routine including exercises as well.

  • samual s

    samual s

    May 17th, 2017 at 3:53 AM

    Erectile dysfunction can be essential or optional. In essential ED, a man experiences this issue about all his life, though in optional ED a man gets this issue a significantly later in his life.

  • Alaina A

    Alaina A

    August 15th, 2017 at 8:19 AM

    You have shared an informative article about Erectile Dysfunction. Thanks.

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