Impotence refers to a man’s inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse. Occasionally having trouble getting or keeping an erection is quite common. And it’s not generally a cause for concern.
If it happens more than just occasionally, then it needs to be addressed with your doctor. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of an underlying health condition like diabetes or heart disease. Regardless of the cause of impotence, left untreated it can take a toll on your relationships and your self-confidence.
Experiencing problems with erections once in a while is something that happens to most men at some point. It is when the following symptoms are persistent, or become a problem for you and your partner, they may be cause for concern:
- difficulty getting erect
- difficulty keeping a strong erection
- reduced sex drive
There are several factors that play a role in a man’s sexual arousal, and can be both physical and emotional. The causes of erectile dysfunction can be as simple as a side effect from a medication, stress, relationship issues, or the result of an illness.
Some common physical causes include:
- certain prescription medications
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- low testosterone levels
- metabolic syndrome
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- cancer treatments
- Peyronie’s disease
- certain surgeries
- drug and tobacco use
- excessive alcohol consumption
Common psychological causes include:
- mental health issues
- relationship issues stemming from resentment, anger, or lack of trust
There are many factors that can cause erectile dysfunction. In addition to many physical or psychological causes, there are also other factors that could put you at risk for developing an ongoing problem of getting or maintaining an erection, or getting aroused.
The most common factor is aging. As men get older, it becomes more difficult for them to get an erection. In some cases, a little bit of extra touching and stimulation may help, while others may require treatment.
And a rarely discussed risk factor is prolonged cycling, which affects the flow of blood to the penis and can compress nerves, leading to temporary erectile dysfunction.