What causes erectile dysfunction? 23 possible conditions

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Impotence and Age

Impotence is the inability to hold an erection. As a man ages, testosterone decreases, causing changes in his sexuality. This includes loss of libido and impotence, which can result in the inability to gain or hold an erection. Certain medical conditions can also result in impotence. Impotence is also known as erectile dysfunction.

Impotence Causes

According to the BBC Health, around 70 percent of impotence cases have medical causes and around 30 percent have psychological causes (BBC, 2012). Psychological and medical causes combined are responsible for the majority of cases.

At some point in every man’s life, he will experience impotence. Impotence is normally caused by:

  • an overconsumption of alcohol
  • stress
  • fatigue

Although this condition can affect younger men, it is more prevalent in middle-aged men. Experts believe that stress plays a major factor in age-related impotence cases.

One of the most common causes of impotence related to age is atherosclerosis. This condition is caused by damage to the small blood vessels. These blood vessels are responsible for supplying blood flow to the penis. This is why the number one sign of atherosclerosis in men is impotence.

Middle-age stress and working account for some of the psychological causes of impotence in older men. Physical causes for impotence in older men include:

  • diabetes
  • thyroid problems
  • kidney issues
  • blood vessel damage
  • nerve damage
  • high blood pressure
  • pelvic trauma
  • heavy smoking

Symptoms of Impotence

The main symptom of impotence is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection. In most cases this is temporary. However, in the case of impotence, a man is unable to sustain an erection long enough to continue sexual intercourse. Psychological symptoms such as low sex drive, low self-esteem, depression, and guilt may set in. A man feeling he is not adequately pleasing his partner may worsen these symptoms.

If the impotence is caused by a medical condition, symptoms of that medical condition may be present along with the impotence. This includes symptoms of diabetes, thyroid conditions, or high blood pressure.

Diagnosing Impotence

Discuss any medical conditions that you may have with your doctor. Sharing your medical history with a doctor can help him or her determine what is causing your impotence. Let your doctor know if you are taking medication. Include the name of the medication, how much you take, and when you began taking it. Also let him or her know if the impotence was first experienced after taking medication.

The doctor will give you a physical examination. This includes a visual inspection of the penis to make sure there are no external causes for the impotence, such as trauma or lesions from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The doctor will give you a blood test to check your blood glucose levels. This will let him or her know if diabetes may be to blame. Other tests that may be administered include:

  • ECG (electrocardiogram)
  • ultrasound
  • urine test

How Is Impotence Treated?

When the underlying cause for impotence is treated, the impotence usually subsides. Your doctor will discuss which medication is right for you. There are oral medications designed to help men achieve an erection or improve the longevity of his erection. These medications cannot be taken by people who have serious medical conditions such as heart disease, so your doctor may suggest other treatment options. These include the use of mechanical aids, such as a penis pump or a penile implant. Your doctor will explain how to use both mechanical aids.

You should consider cutting down drinking or smoking to reduce the risk of impotence and future health complications.

Stress relief methods such as meditation and therapy may be useful in treating impotence caused by stress. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and exercise to reverse stress-related impotence.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Anxiety

What is anxiety? Anxiety often manifests itself as an apprehension about daily life. Learn the basics with this overview of the types of anxiety disorders.

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2

Diabetes Overview

Diabetes is a group of chronic metabolic diseases caused by defects in insulin production or function. Advanced diabetes may cause stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, and cramps.

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3

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of types 1 and 2 diabetes due to uncontrolled high blood sugar levels that result in damage to the nerves. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), between 6...

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4

Alcoholism

Alcoholism is also known as alcohol dependence. It occurs when you drink so much over time that your body becomes dependent on or addicted to alcohol. When this happens, alcohol use becomes the most important thing i...

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5

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when nerves malfunction because they're damaged or destroyed. You'll notice a tingling, numbness, or weakness, and possibly sweating, constipation, or diarrhea.

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6

Prostatitis

Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland, which produces a fluid found in semen. The inflammation may spread to the area around the prostate. Causes include bladder infection, STDs, and injuries to the prostate.

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7

High Blood Pressure Overview

High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease, and other serious health problems.

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8

Arteriosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a narrowing of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque. It is also called arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from th...

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9

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder. It first presents with problems of movement. Smooth and coordinated muscle movements of the body are made possible by a substance in the brain calle...

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10

Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is severe scarring and poor function of the liver caused by long-term exposure to toxins such as alcohol or viral infections. Certain medications and disorder can also cause cirrhosis.

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11

Acute Stress Disorder

In the weeks after a traumatic event, you may develop an anxiety disorder called acute stress disorder (ASD). ASD typically occurs within one month of a traumatic event. It lasts at least two days and up to one month...

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12

Urethritis

Urethritis is a condition that affects the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder so it can be expelled from the body. Semen also passes through the male urethra. The core cause o...

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13

Spinal Cord Injury

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A spinal cord injury, or damage to the spinal cord, is an extremely serious type of physical trauma. It will likely have a lasting and significant impact on most aspects of daily life. According to the Nationa...

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14

Nicotine Dependence

Nicotine addiction occurs when a person becomes addicted to nicotine, which is a chemical found in tobacco. The addiction is physical, mental, and behavioral.

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15

Underactive Pituitary Gland (Hypopituitarism)

Your pituitary gland is located just below your brain. It releases eight hormones that each plays its own role in your body processes. Functions range from stimulating bone growth to prompting your thyroid gland t...

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16

Multiple Sclerosis Overview

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 individuals in the United States and over two million worldwide. Although it is considered a relatively rare disease, MS is of particular interest recentl...

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17

Hookworm Infections

Hookworms are parasites. This means they live off other living things. Hookworms affect your lungs and small intestine. Humans contract hookworms through roundworm eggs and larvae found in dirt contaminated by feces...

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18

Type 2 Diabetes Overview

Type 2 diabetes, is a common chronic metabolic disease that leads to abnormally high levels of blood sugar in the blood. This blood sugar is also referred to as "glucose."

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19

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease. People with type 1 have high levels of glucose in their blood. Glucose is a natural sugar that your body uses as a source of energy. It is obtained from food. Extra glucose i...

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20

Spinal Cord Abscess

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Spinal cord abscess (SCA) is a rare condition capable of causing permanent damage to the spinal cord. Abscesses are caused when injured tissue becomes infected. The body's immune system sends white blood cells to hel...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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