Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is the inability to maintain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. It’s not a topic most men are comfortable talking about: impotence has long been associated with growing old and a loss of manhood. The disorder can wreak havoc on self-esteem and damage relationships. Many men suffering from erection problems avoid sex, fearing embarrassment. Ten to twenty million American males are believed to be suffering from some degree of erectile dysfunction.
In fact, erection problems have little to do with growing old, nor do they somehow indicate a fault with one’s manhood. Ninety percent of erectile dysfunction cases are caused by other health problems. Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and other medical conditions often cause erection problems. So do many prescription medications, certain types of surgery, and psychological factors such as depression and stress.
Age, Sex, and Impotence
At first glance, statistics seem to support the myth that erection problems go hand-in-hand with aging. After age forty, eleven percent of all men experience some impotence problems. The number climbs to eighteen percent after age fifty, then to 38 percent by age sixty. Over the age of seventy, 57 percent of men have to deal with some degree of impotence.
Erectile dysfunction is a complex and involved medical problem with a long list of possible causes. Diagnosis and treatment should be made under the supervision of a trained medical professional.
What the statistics don’t note is that as we age, the risk factors for impotence rise too. Heart disease rates increase. Hypertension and diabetes become more common. We take more medications and may have had surgery. Any event that restricts blood flow to the penis can cause erectile dysfunction. Age by itself has little effect on a man’s sex life: he just has a greater chance of encountering impotence-causing factors than he did in his youth.
Getting the Facts
There’s a lot to learn about male erectile dysfunction (MED). Knowing the facts and physical causes can help you come to terms with a very personal and private problem. This site provides the information you need. You can learn a little about the complex process that creates and sustains an erection, and how your doctor diagnoses an erection problem. Medical causes of impotence are discussed, as are non-medical issues such as medications and psychological pressures. Finally, for those who just want the basics, there’s a page that sums up the most important facts about male impotence.