Men have trouble getting or keeping an erection for plenty of reasons. When the problem is temporary and happens occasionally, it is not a cause for concern. However, if a man has it frequently, then he is said to have a longer lasting problem known as ‘erectile dysfunction’ or impotence.
On the whole, impotence is more common in older men, but aging isn’t the only cause behind it. In about 75% cases of impotence, there’s a physical cause that leads to this condition and that’s when it becomes necessary for men to see their doctor.
Although people may find it a bit ‘taboo’ to talk about erectile dysfunction or impotence, the fact of the matter is that a large proportion of men will suffer from it at some point or the other in their lives. For this reason, we have formulated a list of things that you should know about impotence. Here goes:
15 What Is Impotence?
Impotence is basically the inability to get or maintain an erection that is firm enough for a man to have sex. A man may suffer from impotence if he:
- Can achieve an erection at times; not every time
- Can achieve an erection, but it doesn’t last long enough for him to have sex
- Cannot achieve an erection no matter what
14 Causes of Impotency
There are many different causes of impotence or erectile dysfunction. A number of diseases can damage nerves, muscles and arteries, which may trigger this condition. A few conditions that can lead to impotence are:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Clogged arteries
- High blood pressure
- Multiple sclerosis
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Injury to the penis, prostate, pelvis, spinal cord or bladder
- Bladder cancer surgery
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Leuprolide (Eligard)
- Tamsulosin (Flomax)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Codeine (Found in several brand name drugs)
- Metoprolol (Lopressor)
- Carvedilol (Coreg)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- SSRIs (Prozac and Paxil)
- Temporal lobe epilepsy
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain or spinal tumors
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
13 Lifestyle Choices Can Trigger Impotency
A person needs to go through what is known as the ‘excitement phase’ to achieve an erection. This phase can be an emotional response, hence a person going through an emotional disorder may find it hard to become sexually excited. Depression and anxiety are associated with increased risk for impotence.
Abuse of drugs like cocaine and amphetamines can also cause impotence. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can affect a person’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection as well. See your doctor if you suspect that you may have a substance abuse problem.
12 Endocrine Diseases Can Cause Impotence
The endocrine system is our body is meant to produce hormones that assist in the regulation of sexual function, metabolism, mood and reproduction etc.
The body’s endocrine system produces hormones that regulate metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, mood, and much more. One of the most common examples of an endocrine disease is that of diabetes – and yes it can make a man suffer from impotence. The fact is that chronic diabetes can lead to nerve damage, which in turn affects penis sensations.
Diabetes also leads to fluctuating hormone levels and impaired blood flow, both of which can trigger impotence.
11 Medication Can Trigger Impotence
There are certain medications that tend to affect blood flow within the body, which in turn leads to impotence. However, even if the medicines that you are using currently cause impotence, you should not stop taking them without your doctor’s consent.
Some medicines that are particularly known to trigger impotence are:
10 Neurological Disorders and Impotence
There are a number of neurological diseases that can increase a man’s risk of suffering from impotence. The different neurological disorders that are known to trigger impotence include:
9 Cardiac Conditions and Impotence
Any condition that affects the heart or its ability to pump blood throughout the body has the potential to trigger impotence. There is no way a man can achieve an erection without sufficient blood flow to the penis.
One such condition that can cause impotence is that of atherosclerosis. In this condition, the blood vessels become somewhat clogged. High blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol can also impact a man’s ability to have an erection. It is for this reason that most heart related conditions are known to increase a man’s risk for impotence.
8 Take a Test
There’s actually a traditional test that will assist you in determining whether you suffer from impotence due to physical or psychological reasons. For this, all you need to do is attach a ring of postage stamps around the base of your penis before going to bed. If the ring is broken in the morning, it suggestions your penis is functioning during the night (men get a number of erections while asleep), pointing to psychological issues.
However, the test is not failsafe and any man experiencing problems should speak to a medical professional.
7 Your Dental Hygiene
Impotence is particularly known to affect men with bad teeth. A number of research studies have associated periodontal disease or the onset of chronic gum disease with impotence. It is believed that bacteria from poor dental hygiene enters the blood flow and ends up damaging blood vessels. With time, it tends to impair blood flow to the penis which leads to impotence.
6 Effects of Porn on Impotence
Although there are plenty of old wives’ tales surrounding the issue, the fact of the matter is that there is no medical link between excessive masturbation and impotence. However, it has been found through research that high frequency viewing of porn can trigger a psychological effect. In the long term, it has potentially decrease a man's ability to achieve erections when with a real-life partner.
5 Its Market Worth
Back in 2012, the global erectile dysfunction market was found to be worth nearly $4.3 billion. A brand of the compound ‘sildenafil’ known as Viagra is believed to have accounted for nearly 45% of that market. However, the company that manufactured Viagra apparently lost the patent for its European distribution in 2013, which paved the way for more competitors in the market.
In the long run, this ended Viagra’s dominance with more and more brands making their way.
4 Erectile Dysfunction Drugs and More
Believe it or not, but it is rather common for male porn actors to use erectile dysfunction drugs to perform on set. In the words of Danny Wylde, who apparently retired from porn after getting the warning that the drugs he was using were doing potentially incurable damage to his penis, “most people take them every scene. I’m aware of two male performers who I actually believe don't take them.”
For the record, recreational use of erectile dysfunction drugs to achieve and maintain better erections than normal is believed to lead to dependency issues and raise the risk of suffering from psychogenic erectile dysfunction.
3 An Estimation
Research suggests that nearly half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 suffer from erectile dysfunction to some degree. These statistics include 5% of 40-year-old men, 15-25% of 65-year-old men who continue to suffer from the condition on a long-term basis.
2 Impotence Prevention
In order to prevent yourself against impotence, you need to prevent yourself against its causes by making healthy lifestyle choices. A healthy diet in particular is important to help prevent erectile dysfunction. You should also try to quit smoking and start living an active life for this purpose.
What must be mentioned here is that physical activity increases blood flow throughout your body, including your penis. If you have not been active, start slow, with easier activities such as walking at a normal pace or gardening. Then you can work up to harder activities such as walking briskly or swimming. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.
1 Watch What You Eat
To prevent impotence, it is highly recommended for you to eat a healthy diet of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, and lean meats. Remember that a diet that makes you gain weight and have heart and blood diseases can also trigger impotence. Try to avoid foods high in fat and sodium, the main part of salt. You should also avoid smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or using illegal drugs.