Erectile dysfunction

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:

  • Viagra
  • Cialis
  • Levitra
  • Vitaros alprostadil therapy
  • Yohimbine
  • 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.