Erectile dysfunction

What is Erectile Dysfunction? 

Erectile dysfunction (ED), is the inability to get or keep an erection of the penis firm enough to have sexual intercourse. Sometimes, impotence is the term used instead of ED. 

Stress is the leading cause of sudden occasional ED and it is easily reversible. 

Frequent ED, however, can be a sign of health problems that need help and treatment. 

Stable ED can also be a sign of emotional or relationship difficulties that may need to be addressed. 

Gradual onset of ED must be carefully studied in order to exclude arteriosclerosis. Erectile dysfunction caused by arteriosclerosis in fact might anticipate a heart attack or other diseases related to this chronic artery damage.

Erectile Dysfunction Causes


  • Drug use
  • using tobacco products
  • consuming too much alcohol 
  • obesity

Psychologic stress 

  • relationship problems 
  • anxiety 
  • depression 


  • cardiovascular disease 
  • diabetes 
  • hypertension
  • high cholesterol 
  • low testosterone levels or other hormone imbalances 
  • kidney disease 
  • certain prescription medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure or depression sleep disorders 
  • certain health conditions, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis (MS) 
  • damage to the pelvic area through injury or surgery 
  • Peyronie's disease, which causes scar tissue to develop in the penis

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

The treatment depends on the underlying disease-causing ED. In patients with relationship problems, anxiety and depression psychologic counseling could be advisable. Psychiatric evaluation and medical treatment will be prescribed in severe cases of depression or anxiety.

Bad habits also must be reversed with medical help if necessary.

The remaining cases may be helped with medication therapy (continuous or on-demand medication, usually pills), penile injections, or surgery (penile prosthesis). These treatments have to be carefully discussed with your doctor.

When to see a doctor

Stable ED with a negative impact on the quality of life should be evaluated and treated possibly with a multidisciplinary approach. ED with progressive gradual onset should be regarded carefully since it could anticipate more serious conditions.