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Impotence affects a man’s ability to achieve and maintain an erection. It also affects your ability to ejaculate. Impotence is also referred to as erectile dysfunction or ED. Most men experience some form of erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. It’s nothing to worry about and usually goes away with time. If these issues keep recurring, however, it’s enough reason to worry.

Several factors may cause impotence. They include;

  • Vascular disease: Most cases of impotence are due to vascular disease. Erection occurs when blood collects in the blood vessels in the penis. If you have vascular disease, the amount of blood flowing and remaining in the penis reduces. 
  • Nerve damage: Nerves, especially, those in the penis, need to work well for a man to maintain an erection. If there is nerve damage, while you can get an erection, maintaining it becomes a problem. Conditions like multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and prostate surgery can damage nerves.
  • Medications: Certain medications cause erectile dysfunction. Antidepressants are the biggest culprits. Others are drugs used to treat high blood pressure, prostate cancer, and heart disease. 
  • Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal problems can interfere with your sexual drive. This, in the end, wreaks havoc on your sexual performance. The most common cause of impotence is low testosterone levels. 
  • Psychological factors: Sometimes impotence can be due to conditions like depression and anxiety. Fear of performance and guilt may also lead to impotence. Finding ways of dealing with such issues will resolve erectile dysfunction. 

Types of Impotence

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There are different types of impotence depending on the underlying cause and symptoms. They include the following;

Organic impotence

This is the most common type of impotence. Organic impotence occurs due to a vein and artery abnormality. When veins and arteries are damaged, blood doesn’t flow to the penis as it should. The condition mostly affects older men. 

Retrograde ejaculation

It is a common problem among men with diabetes. Untreated diabetes can cause damage to the nerves including those in the bladder and bladder neck. Such nerve issues cause ejaculation to flow backward. Retrograde ejaculation can occur due to certain medications or bladder and prostate surgery. 

Premature ejaculation

PE causes one to ejaculate early during sexual intercourse. Premature ejaculation is mostly due to performance anxiety. It can, however, result from other factors like stress, depression, and sexual oppression history. Certain medications like those used to treat depression can also lead to ejaculation problems. 

Low libido

Libido is the desire to engage in sexual intercourse. Low libido occurs when this desire decreases. Low libido occurs due to low testosterone levels. Testosterone plays a vital role in maintaining sex drive, producing sperm, hair, bone, and muscle. When testosterone levels are low it can affect your body as well as mood leading to depression and anxiety. Low libido can also be due to health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. 

Symptoms of Impotence

Impotence can cause symptoms such as;

  • Inability to get and maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse
  • Delayed or complete absence of ejaculation even when there is sexual stimulation
  • Problems controlling the timing of ejaculation also known as early or premature ejaculation
  • Sexual dysfunction or a loss of interest in sex and sexual activities 
  • Inability to get aroused despite sexual stimulation
  • Pain during sex

Diagnosis of Impotence

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The doctor conducts a physical exam and asks about your symptoms. They will also order other tests to rule out any medical conditions.

Physical tests: The test helps rule out the penis and testicular problems that may cause impotence. 

Urine and blood tests: These help check for problems such as low testosterone, diabetes, and heart diseases. Such problems can lead to an inability to get an erection or early ejaculation. 

Recital exam: A rectal exam assesses the condition of your prostate.

Ultrasound: This test allows the doctor to assess for problems with blood flow to the penis. 

How to Treat Impotence

There are so many treatment options for impotence. The line of treatment chosen will depend on the underlying cause.

Medications: Certain medications can help manage impotence. They include over-the-counter medications like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). These drugs work by increasing blood flow to the penis so that you can have a strong erection and be able to maintain it. The doctor may prescribe testosterone instead if the underlying cause is low testosterone levels. Sometimes a medication known as alprostadil can help. Alprostadil is injected into the penis to help one get an erection. 

Lifestyle changes: Sometimes impotence can occur due to factors like weight gain. The doctor will therefore advise you to lose weight to improve your symptoms. Other lifestyle changes you can make include quitting smoking, alcohol, and hard drugs. 

Psychotherapy: Impotence can occur due to factors like depression, stress, and anxiety. Seeing a counselor can help you manage such issues thus easing ED symptoms. 

Penile devices: The main device used is a penis pump or vacuum device. The device is a tube that you place over your penis. Air is sucked from the tube thus pulling blood into the penis to achieve an erection. An elastic ring remains at the bottom of the penis to maintain the erection. 

Surgery: If other treatment options don’t help, surgery can. Surgery helps repair damaged arteries in the penis. 

How to Manage Impotence

For a majority of people, impotence occurs due to poor lifestyle choices. Such choices can also worsen the condition. Managing impotence involves making certain lifestyle changes. 

  • Quitting smoking can improve your symptoms
  • Find ways of losing weight like exercising or getting into a diet
  • Get involved in physical activities to help increase blood flow and reduce stress
  • Find ways of managing stress and depression
  • If you have a drug or alcohol problem, get into a program as these can worsen impotence
  • If you have problems communicating with your partners about sex, consider couple counseling
  • Engage in Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles


  1. Can impotence be cured? Yes, impotence is treatable if the doctor diagnoses the underlying cause. 
  2. Is impotence permanent? Impotence is manageable through medications, making lifestyle changes, or surgery. Most men, however, do not seek help and the symptoms worsen to the point of affecting their quality of life and relationships. 

Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!

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