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What is impotence and what causes it?

The "stamp test" and medical treatments for impotence

Herbal treatments for impotence

References and Web Resources

Impotence or erectile dysfunction was once dreaded as man's worst nightmare. Given the advances in medicine and nutrition research, however, it no longer has to be a scary thing. Impotence can be treated - sometimes without drugs. Read on:

What is impotence?

Impotence is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection to perform intercourse or ejaculation.

There are two forms of impotence: primary and secondary. Men with primary impotence have never had sufficient erection for satisfactory intercourse. This form of impotence is rare and is often caused by extreme psychological conditions, such as intense fear of intimacy, extreme feelings of guilt, and severe anxiety.

Secondary impotence, defined as the loss of erectile function after a period of normal function, is more common. Men with secondary erection are typically able to engage in intercourse only 25% of the time. This form of erection typically comes on gradually and is usually more easily treated that primary impotence.

Who becomes impotent?
Although men who have reached middle age and older are more likely to be impotent than younger men, impotence can strike at any adult age. It is estimated to affect between 10 and 15 million men in the United States alone.

What causes impotence?
The major cause of impotence is disease. It is estimated that over 70% of all serious impotence cases are the result of diabetes, kidney diseases, multiple sclerosis, endocrine disorders, vascular diseases and high blood pressure, as well as neurological diseases. It is estimated that between 50% and 60% of diabetic men are impotent.

Here, it's important to realize that impotence may be a symptom of a more serious problem with your health - so if you're impotent, don't be ashamed of seeking professional medical help.

Prescribed drugs used to treat high blood pressure, ulcer, depression, prostate cancer, as well as drugs to prevent baldness or to aid dieting, can have side effects that include impotence. In this case, the impotence lasts as long as you are taking the drugs.

Surgery on the spinal cord, prostate, bladder, or pelvis can lead to impotence by damaging essential nerves, tissues, muscles, or arteries needed.

Cigarette smoking, alcohol and narcotics use
One of the most underestimated causes of impotence is actually cigarette smoking (as if you need yet another reason to quit ...) It is ironic that even though cigarette smoking long has the projected aura of coolness or sexiness, in reality it is anything but.

The same goes for alcohol and narcotics such as heroine and cocaine (almost 100% of men who use cocaine regularly are impotent). If you use these recreational drugs, however, you have bigger health problems than just impotence ...

Hormonal imbalance
As testosterone and other male sex hormone levels start to drop after reaching middle age, it is thought that low testosterone level is the culprit of most intermittent impotence problem, especially in older men. Furthermore, studies have shown that lack of testosterone leads to a range of other sexual performance problems, including premature ejaculation and low sex drive.

Psychological factors
It is estimated that about 10 to 20% of impotence cases are the direct result of some sort of psychological factors, such as low self-esteem, depression, and especially stress and anxiety (general and performance anxieties). Here, all the plumbings are A-OK, yet the otherwise healthy man is unable to achieve an erection.

The man's comfort level is also often a factor, especially in maintaining an erection. Boredom, marital problems, or negative feelings against his partner may contribute toward an impotence problem.

Impotence caused by psychological factors is often temporary: it lasts as long as the underlying factor is still there. If you suspect this may be the cause, you can perform a simple test to see if impotence is just in your mind ...

What does a stamp have to do with impotence? Read on > Next

The information contained in this website is intended for general reference purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or other medical institutions. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Medical information changes rapidly and while SexHealthInPlainEnglish.com makes reasonable efforts to update the contents on this site, some information may be out of date. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider before starting any new health program or treatment.

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