Doctors define erectile dysfunction as the inability to get an erection or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Erectile dysfunction may also be called "impotence." Having occasional trouble with erections is common and may not be problematic if it doesn’t happen often. However, men with erectile dysfunction experience this issue frequently.
The process of achieving and maintaining an erection is complex and involves many parts of the body, including blood vessels, muscles, and nerves. Emotions can also play a role in this process. For some men, a single physical problem causes erectile dysfunction or impotence. For other men, the disorder results from a combination of factors.
Some of the factors that may contribute to erectile dysfunction include:
Many men have erectile dysfunction because of more than one of these factors.
Men with erectile dysfunction or impotence may have trouble getting an erection, or they may be able to achieve a temporary erection that isn’t firm enough or long-lasting enough for sexual intercourse. Men with this condition may also notice reduced sexual desire.
In many cases, the doctors at Urology Associates Medical Group will be able to diagnose erectile dysfunction based only on an examination of the patient and a review of his medical history. However, in some cases, the doctor may order urine tests, blood tests, or imaging to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other conditions. For some men, a psychological exam may also be necessary.
The first line of treatment for men with erectile dysfunction or impotence is usually a medication designed to strengthen erections and make them easier to obtain. However, some men may need more extensive treatment, such as a penis pump or penile implant.
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