Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is a common sexual-arousal disorder primarily affecting men over the age of 40, although it can be a problem for men of any age.
ED is clinically defined as the inability to attain or maintain a penile erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Having erection trouble from time to time isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, if erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue or has been occurring for more than three months, you should see a medical specialist. ED is sometimes a symptom of an underlying health issue and not getting it treated can cause stress, affect your self-confidence, and contribute to relationship problems.
According to The Merck Manual, an estimated 50 percent of men ages 40 to 70 experience some ED at one time or another. The risk of ED increases with age. Many of the cases of erectile dysfunction can be attributed at least in part to a reduced blood flow, typically due to an underlying vascular disease. Diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, chronic alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, vascular disease, and neurologic disease, account for about 70 percent of erectile dysfunction cases. Fortunately, because many ED cases are physical in nature, they can be treated (and even cured) with the right treatment.
References/Further Readings on ED:
- Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Erectile Dysfunction
- National Institute of Health Information on Erectile Dysfunction
- 5 Common Causes of Impotence