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About ED


Erectile dysfunction (ED, "male impotence") is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance.

An erection occurs as a hydraulic effect due to blood entering and being retained in sponge-like bodies within the penis. The process is most often initiated as a result of sexual arousal, when signals are transmitted from the brain to nerves in the pelvis. Erectile dysfunction is indicated when an erection is consistently difficult or impossible to produce, despite arousal. There are various and often multiple underlying causes, some of which are treatable medical conditions. The most important organic causes are cardiovascular disease and diabetes, neurological problems (for example, trauma from prostatectomy surgery), hormonal insufficiencies (hypogonadism) and drug side effects. It is important to realize that erectile dysfunction can signal underlying risk for cardiovascular disease.

There is often a contributing and complicating and sometimes a primary psychological or relational problem. Psychological impotence is where erection or penetration fails due to thoughts or feelings (psychological reasons) rather than physical impossibility; this can often be helped. Notably in psychological impotence, there is a strong response to placebo treatment. Erectile dysfunction, tied closely as it is to cultural notions of potency, success and masculinity, can have severe psychological consequences. There is a strong culture of silence and inability to discuss the matter. In reality, it has been estimated that around 1 in 10 men will experience recurring impotence problems at some point in their lives.


Other articles from the section: Erectile Dysfunction

Oral treatment

  The cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases constitute a group of enzymes that catalyse the hydrolysis of the cyclic nucleotides cyclic AMP and cyclic GMP. They exist in different molecular forms and are unevenly distributed throughout the body.  One of the forms of phophodiesterase is termed PDE5. The prescription PDE5 inhibitors sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis) are prescription drugs which are taken orally. They work ...

Section: Erectile Dysfunction

Overview and symptoms

  Erectile dysfunction is characterized by the regular or repeated inability to obtain or maintain an erection. There are several ways that erectile dysfunction is analyzed:  Obtaining full erections at some times, such as when asleep (when the mind and psychological issues, if any, are less present), tends to suggest the physical structures are functionally working. However, the opposite case, a lack of nocturnal ...

Section: Erectile Dysfunction

Treatment

  Treatment depends on the cause. Testosterone supplements may be used for cases due to hormonal deficiency. However, the cause is more usually lack of adequate penile blood supply as a result of damage to inner walls of blood vessels. This damage is more frequent in older men, and often associated with disease, in particular diabetes.  Treatments (with the exception of testosterone supplementation, where effective) work on a temporary basis: they enable an erection to be attained and maintained long enough for intercourse, ...

Section: Erectile Dysfunction

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