What is Impotence?
Impotence is another term for erectile dysfunction (ED). Impotence is a persistent inability for a man to achieve and maintain an erection satisfactory enough to engage in successful sexual activity. For a man to be considered impotent, he must have experienced this inability on a multitude of occasions despite sexual desire and healthy drive. One in five men report being impotent to their doctor, and up to 80% of men suffer from impotence within their lifetime.
It is common for relationship stress and communication issues to lead to impotence. The problem of one or more incidences of inability to engage in sexual activity can perpetuate a cycle through a sort of performance anxiety, but the root cause of impotence may be biological, psychological or a combination of the two. Regardless of the cause, impotent men can breathe easy because treatment is widely available.
Is Low Libido Impotence?
Impotent men generally maintain a desire for sex,and low libido is not impotence. Poor sex drive is another form of male sexual dysfunction, separate from the problem of being impotent. Low libido or poor sex drive is a low desire for sex, whereas impotence is a condition where a man does want to engage in sexual activity but cannot accomplish that goal physically.
Impotent men can become very frustrated because they want to spend intimate time with their partner. When it is time to act upon that desire, the impotent man’s body fails to perform as it generally would in the past. Whatever the cause, it is important for an impotent patient to know that medical reversal of the problem is quite possible through impotence treatment.
A man is considered impotent when he is unable to sexually perform due to a lack of cooperation by his physical body on multiple occasions. All men experience problems with attaining and keeping an erection now and then. This does not define them as impotent. Impotence is an ongoing problem that raises repeated concern.
If the individual has a desire to have sex and is sexually stimulated yet fails to achieve an erection, he is considered impotent. If he has desire and is able to achieve an erection but cannot sustain it long enough for sexual penetration or ejaculation, a man is also deemed impotent. Finally, another form of impotence is when a man’s achieved erection is still too soft for sexual penetration. Regardless of why or how he is impotent, there are very effective forms of impotence treatment widely available today.
Who is Affected by Impotence?
Impotence can affect both a man and his partner psychologically. Communication within the relationship, without blame, is key. Both partners should realize that impotence is not the fault of either. Partners tend to blame themselves in these situations, thinking they are not attractive to the man who is impotent. It is important for both parties to speak openly about the issue and seek solutions to the impotence together.
There can also be a heavy reluctance by an impotent man to speak with his doctor, as the patient is embarrassed or overwhelmed by his impotence. Regardless of what the cause of a patient’s impotence may be, doctors are very aware of the difficulty of these conversations for the impotent man and will handle the topic with care, confidentiality and empathy.
What Causes Impotence?
In a healthy man, an erection is achieved through two important processes. First, his brain and genital area are stimulated by thoughts and sensory prompts toward sexual interest. Second, impulses from his brain and genital nerves as a result of that stimuli trigger the circulatory system to send blood into two chambers within the penis known as the corpora cavernosa. In filling those two chambers with blood, the penis expands, becomes rigid and is ready for sexual intercourse. Any repeated disruption of these processes causes impotence.
Impotent men should realize that impotence is very common. The problem of impotence becomes more common in men aged 40 to 70 years. Despite impotence being so typical, no man needs to be concerned that aging means he will not have a full and enduring sex life.
Racial background may have an impact on impotence. Studies have indicated that Hispanic men may more commonly experience impotence than other groups. African-American men are shown to seek medical care for being impotent at double the rate of other groups.
Among causes for impotence are medical problems like diabetes, obesity, heart problems and negative lifestyle habits such as smoking, alcohol intake and drug use. Even when a man is found to be impotent due to health concerns, his impotence can still be cured.
Chronic Illness and Impotence
Diabetes is one of the most common causes of impotence. Men without diabetes are two to three times less likely to have impotence than men with diabetes. Diabetes also causes men to become impotent at a much younger age than men without diabetes. Through healthy blood sugar maintenance, diabetes-related impotence can be prevented.
Cardiovascular disease, hardening of the arteries, multiple sclerosis and kidney problems can lead to impotence as blood flow or nerve activity within the body become impaired.
Poor Lifestyle as Cause
Poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity are attributable as causes of many health problems, including impotence. Drinking too much alcohol, smoking and recreational drug use can also damage blood vessels and cause a man to become impotent. To the contrary, men who get regular exercise, eat healthy and avoid alcohol lessen their chances of becoming impotent.
Surgical treatments for areas around the groin can result in impotence. Nerves and blood vessels can become damaged near the penis, and sometimes that damage is permanent. Quite often, such damage by surgery and the effect of becoming impotent is temporary and corrects itself through recovery in six to 18 months following the procedure.
Medication Induced Dysfunction
Impotence is not always directly related to the impotent man’s health. Some medications, including select blood pressure drugs, drugs prescribed for depression, and sedatives, may cause a man to become impotent. If a prescription or other medication are thought to be causing impotence, the patient should talk about the problem with their physician.
Psychological Causes of Impotence
Most often, impotence is caused by a physical issue. This is particularly true for older impotent men. However, a man may become impotent if he is suffering from stress, low self-confidence, depression or another mental health issue. Performance anxiety can cause a man to become impotent through a cyclical problem for obtaining an erection, whether by a man who has other physical causes of impotence or in one who is healthy.
The shape of certain bicycle seats put pressure on the perineum and can cause a man who frequently rides a bicycle to discover himself impotent. The perineum is the location of arteries and nerves related to sexual arousal. If these nerves or blood flow is damaged, the rider can become impotent. There are seats available on the market that ensure the area between the anus and scrotum is protected and to prevent possible impotence.
How is Impotence Diagnosed?
The potentially impotent patient should see his physician as soon as he suspects that he may be impotent. The doctor will ask questions, obtain a medical history and complete a thorough exam to determine what may be causes of the impotent man’s problem. In the exam, the doctor may find concerns that are known to make a man impotent, such as poor circulation, nerve problems or other issues. The doctor will also look for signs that things are not normal or fully functioning within the genital region, which could cause the man to be impotent.
When a man is suspected of being impotent, there are lab tests that can help in diagnosis. Testosterone levels will be checked. In men, a hormonal imbalance can lead to decreased desire and may contribute to the problems of an impotent patient. Other tests that count blood cells, check blood sugar levels, determine cholesterol levels and screen liver functioning also are generally ordered to help find a cause of the impotence.
Is Impotence a Sign of a Bigger Problem?
Impotence can be a sign that the impotent man has a more serious disease. Some recent studies theorize that impotence may predict future heart attacks, strokes or heart disease related death by the impotent man. This indicates that impotent men should undergo screenings for cardiovascular disease. What impotence does not mean is that the impotent man definitely has other illnesses. There are just some health concerns of which impotence may be symptomatic.
How is Impotence Treated?
Impotent men are lucky to be living during a time when there are many impotence treatments and even impotence cures available on the market. The impotent patient’s doctor is the best resource for determination of which treatment will be most effective for that man’s specific cause.
Lifestyle Changes as Treatment
Impotence can frequently be treated through lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, getting more exercise, losing excess weight, curbing alcohol intake and changing present medications all can help, or even end a man’s impotence altogether.
Oral Medications for Impotent Men
There are five oral medications on the market for treatment of impotence. Some treatments for impotent men are better known through advertising than others. All of these drugs prescribed by doctors for their impotent patients improve blood flow to the penis to provide for normal sexual activity. An impotent man can only take a prescribed number of tablets during a specific time period. A doctor will help the impotent patient determine which drug is best for his particular situation and needs.
As alternatives to medications for impotent men, injections and a tablet that can be inserted directly into the urethra immediately preceding sexual activity are available. The injections go into the penis directly and both of these methods are immediately effective for treatment of the impotent man toward sexual activity.
Vacuum devices for impotent men are commonly called penis pumps. These offer alternatives to medication and cannot be used at the same time as any ED medication taken by the impotent man. To use a pump, the impotent patient places his penis into a cylindrical device and pumps the air out of the cylinder. The vacuum fills the penis with blood and causes the impotent man to produce an erection. The erection remains long enough for sexual activity, as an elastic band is placed around the base of the penis to prevent blood from releasing from the organ.
Surgical Procedures and Implants
If a blocked artery is the cause of an impotent man’s struggles, a simple surgical procedure can restore blood flow and fix the problem. Younger impotent men are best candidates for this surgery, particularly those who have suffered an injury to the groin that resulted in the impotence.
There are implants available to treat impotence. These implants are surgically placed into the impotent man. For most recipients of this surgery, a pump is used by the man to fill the implants with pressurized fluid whenever sexual activity is desired.
Other Therapies for Impotence
Psychotherapy and alternative therapies may be suited for individual patients with impotence. Doctors will discuss these options with patients and help determine the best course of action for the impotent patient’s specific needs.