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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

The stamp test: not just for the mail anymore ...
So, how do you distinguish between impotence caused by problems with your body and that caused by psychological factors? A lowly, regular stamp can help ...

Turns out that during sleep, a man often gets multiple erection throughout the night. This involuntary erection means that everything is fine with the nerves, muscles, and arteries involved in the erection process and signals that the cause of impotence lies elsewhere.

To determine this, a man can simply wet and "affix" a small stamp on his flaccid penis before going to bed. If the stamp is no longer in place by the morning, it means that a nocturnal erection occurred.

Medical treatment for impotence
Sildenafil citrate
The invention of Viagra (sildenafil citrate) spotlights the problem of impotence, and made it all right to talk about this once taboo subject. Once designed for heart medication, it was soon discovered that sildenafil can cause quite potent erection (actually, the scientists suspected something when the clinical test subjects were very reluctant to return their pills after the study was over ...)

Sildenafil works by causing the smooth penis muscle to relax, which lets blood to flow into the penis. This, in turn, causes the penis tissue to be engorged by blood and becomes erect (with the proper sexual stimulation) within 20 to 40 minutes after taking the drug orally.

While it works very well, it should be noted that sildenafil is a prescribed drug, and should only be taken on advise of your health care professional as it has serious side effects in some men. The side effects of sildenafil include minor vision problems, headaches, heart attacks, and even death.

Injection therapy
Here, drugs that cause the widenings of blood vessels are injected into the penis to cause erection. This therapy is falling out of favor, because of the obvious (imagine injecting your penis, guys), and because of the side effects, which include persistent erection, scarring, and sudden low blood pressure.

These injection drugs are not recommended for men who are taking prescribed medicine for high blood pressure or who are at risk for blood clots. Furthermore, since the drugs are toxic to fetuses, men are not recommeded to use this method if their partner is pregnant.

Insertable drugs
Instead of injection, there are also drugs in pellet form that can be inserted into the penis about an inch deep with an applicator. Erection will then occur about 8 to 10 minutes after application, and lasts between 30 minutes to an hour.

In addition to side effects that include those listed for injection drugs, insertable drugs can also cause a burning sensation, redness, spotting or bleeding, and aching of the penis and testicles. Furthermore, the man must remain in an up-right position when the erection is forming, so the blood flow is not inhibited. If he lies down too early, then the erection may be lost.

Hormone replacement therapy
Since one of the most common causes of impotence, especially intermittent impotence in older men is low testosterone level, it is obvious that testosterone replacement therapy can help.

Testosterone replacement therapy, however, should only be done under careful administration by doctors, since overdose of testosterone carries serious side effects, including enlargement of the prostate.

There are a couple of surgeries available, including repairing blocked or damaged arteries and veins, as well as tying the veins to prevent blood to flow out of the penis during an erection.

Other types of surgeries include implanting erection devices. These devices include a bendable rod which allows a man to (manually) place the penis into the erection position, and an inflatable implant. The inflatable implant consists of cylinders, a fluid reservoir, and a pump that is placed under the skin in the scrotum. When the man presses the pump, fluid flows from the reservoir into the cylinders, which become inflated and cause the penis to be erect. This device causes the penis to become longer and wider while erect. It also has an advantage over the rod, since it allows the flaccid penis to appear more natural.

Besides expensive, remember that surgeries are invasive procedures that can cause potentially serious side effects.

Pump it up. Literally.
Vacuum tube and penis ring - oh, what men go through for a good erection, and natural treatments for impotence> Next

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