What are erection problems?
A man has erection
problems if he cannot get or keep an erection that is firm enough for him to
have sex. Erection problems are also called erectile dysfunction or
Erection problems can occur at any age. But they are
more common in older men, who often have other health problems. Treatment can
help both older and younger men.
What causes erection problems?
may be caused by physical problems, such as injury to nerves or loss of
blood supply to the penis .
They can also be linked to other
health problems. These include
high blood pressure,
high cholesterol, and
atherosclerosis. Erection problems can also be linked
to problems with the
nervous system, such as
multiple sclerosis and
Many medicines for
other health problems may cause erection problems, but most do not. If you
recently began taking a new medicine and started having erection problems, this
could be a side effect of the medicine. Talk with your doctor. He or she may be
able to change the dose or type of medicine you take.
too much alcohol, smoke, or use illegal drugs also are
at risk for erection problems.
depression can cause erection problems.
Other causes include surgery, such as for prostate cancer, or injury to the
What are the symptoms?
The only symptom of an
erection problem is being unable to get and keep an erection that is firm
enough to have sex. But even with an erection problem, a man may still have
sexual desire and be able to have an orgasm and to ejaculate.
How are erection problems diagnosed?
can find out if you have an erection problem by asking questions about your
health and doing a physical exam. Your doctor will want to know if the problem
happens all the time or just from time to time. The exam, lab tests, and
sometimes mental health tests can help find out the cause of the
How are they treated?
There are a number of
treatments for erection problems. Doctors usually start with lifestyle changes
and medicines. They usually don't advise surgery or other treatments unless
those first steps don't help.
Treatment can include:
- Making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding
tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. It may also help to talk about the issue with your
partner, do sensual exercises, and get counseling.
- Finding and
then stopping medicines that may be causing the problem. In some cases you can
take a different medicine that does not cause erection problems.
Taking prescription medicine that can help you get erections. These include
pills such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil
(Levitra). Check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to take one of
these medicines with your other medicines. These can be dangerous if you have
heart disease that requires you to take nitroglycerin or other medicines that
- Taking medicines and getting counseling for
depression or anxiety.
- Using vacuum devices or getting shots of
medicine into the penis.
- Having surgery to place an implant in the
Can you prevent erection problems?