This is defined as a partial or complete inability to achieve or maintain an erection of the penis sufficient for penetrative sexual activity and its satisfactory completion.
This is a very common condition, which tends to affect many men as they get older, even if they are otherwise in apparent good health. However, erectile dysfunction is also a feature of many medical conditions. About 50% of diabetic men will have some degree of erectile dysfunction. It may also occur in men with the following conditions:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart disease
- Peripheral vascular disease (hardening of the arteries)
- Use of various medical drugs, e.g. diuretics or beta blockers
- Cigarette smokers
- Hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol levels)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Back conditions and spinal injuries
- Pelvic surgery and injuries
Erectile dysfunction can be treated by various tablets, prostaglandin hormone therapy and by vacuum pump therapy. Treatments currently used include:
- Vitaros alprostadil therapy
- Penile injections
- Vacuum devices
Some men may also have a lack of male hormones (testosterone) which may require hormone replacement therapy.
Most men with erectile dysfunction can be treated successfully.