What Causes Impotence and How Is It Treated?
Often referred to as Erectile Dysfunction (ED), impotence occurs when a man finds it difficult to gain or maintain an erection. Occasional impotence is very common, especially in men over forty, and can be caused by a wide range of factors including stress, tiredness or anxiety. If impotence occurs more frequently, it could be caused by other physical or emotional problems that may require treatment.
Associated symptoms of impotence include:
- Erectile dysfunction – difficulty getting or remaining erect
- Loss of early morning erections
- Inability to have sexual intercourse
- Reduced sexual desire
As well as the physical symptoms it causes, impotence can also lead to relationship issues and low self-esteem. Many men experiencing impotence have an associated loss of libido and avoid sexual activity due to a fear of disappointing their partner. It is crucial that prolonged impotence is diagnosed and treated promptly to avoid further exacerbating sexual performance issues and raising already-heightened stress levels.
Causes of Impotence
The most common causes of impotence are ageing, obesity, stress, anxiety and tiredness. The use of some medications that impact testosterone levels, such as antidepressants and opiate pain medications, can also lead to Testosterone Deficiency (TD), of which impotence is a symptom.
Impotence Caused by Situational Factors
Most men will experience some form of infrequent and short-term impotence in their lifetime, as sexual performance and satisfaction is so closely linked to our emotional and physical wellbeing. If you are stressed, unhappy, feeling depressed or facing a tough situation at work or at home, it is perfectly understandable for you to experience difficulty gaining or maintaining an erection.
Impotence Caused by Poor Lifestyle Choices
It is possible to experience impotence due to lifestyle choices, such as a poor diet, lack of exercise or not getting enough sleep. The good news is that this kind of impotence is easily treated once the causes have been identified and addressed. Making the lifestyle changes required to achieve a healthier balance is often enough to reverse the symptoms of impotence and achieve erections firm enough for sexual intercourse again.
Impotence Caused by Hormone Problems
Men of all ages can experience Testosterone Deficiency (TD), a condition caused by low testosterone levels and which includes symptoms of low libido, erectile dysfunction and a loss of early morning erections. While these symptoms are common to all types of impotence, TD is generally accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, a noted lack of strength, tiredness and a general feeling of exhaustion. In addition to these, TD can cause moodiness, irritability and mood swings, as well as diminish muscle mass and redistribute fat around the stomach and chest. For men experiencing these additional symptoms, additional blood tests will be arranged to assess the levels of testosterone and determine whether TD is the cause of impotence.
Impotence Caused by Associated Health Conditions
In some cases, impotence can be caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels in the penis, which prevents you from becoming and staying firm enough for sexual intercourse. This condition is known as Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and can be caused by high blood pressure or high cholesterol, as well as damage to the penile area, whether by accident or during surgery.
Diagnosis of Impotence
Impotence is diagnosed by assessing your ability to gain and maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. If you have difficulty with sexual performance over a sustained period of time, you will be considered to be experiencing impotence. The nature of your condition will be assessed to determine the right course of treatment and whether simple changes to lifestyle or your current living or work situation are likely to rectify the situation. Thorough blood work can be recommended if deemed necessary by your medical practitioner to determine whether hormonal issues such as Testosterone Deficiency could be a major factor in your condition.
The good news is that impotence can be treated quickly once a thorough assessment of your health and wellbeing has been completed. Treatment begins with addressing any lifestyle issues that could be contributing factors, as detailed below.
Lifestyle Changes to Treat Impotence
While it may seem easier said than done to make permanent lifestyle changes, sometimes these are essential for you to enjoy a happier and healthier life. This is especially the case if you are suffering from impotence, which is often directly linked to your lifestyle choices. If appropriate, your doctor will recommend that you:
- Quit smoking
- Drink less alcohol
- Eat a healthier and more balanced diet, and drink lots of water
- Do more exercise
- Lose weight
- Sleep more and make time for relaxation
Addressing the Causes of Stress and Anxiety
We all occasionally find ourselves in highly stressful situations that impact our psychological and physiological wellbeing. If you have a highly stressful job or home life, you may need to discuss the impact it is having on your health with your manager or partner, and seek resolutions that alleviate the feelings of pressure and anxiety. The solution may include attending relationship or sex therapy, or seeking out an assertiveness course to improve communication and increase the level of support within your environment.
Medical Treatments for Impotence
If appropriate, your doctor may recommend that you take medication to alleviate your symptoms. This is especially the case if you are diagnosed with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) as a result of the narrowing of your penis’ blood vessels. If appropriate, you may be given medicine to lower blood pressure or statins to lower cholesterol, as well as medicine that allows you to gain and maintain erections, which comes in a wide variety of forms such as topical pellets and creams, tablets, injections, vacuum devices and shockwave therapy. If hormone problems are found to be the issue, you may be given testosterone replacement therapy to rebalance the levels of testosterone in your body.
More information on impotence treatments available at The Mann Clinic
Contact The Mann Clinic for Advice on Impotence
For over ten years, we have been helping men regain their sexual health and wellness in our comfortable and confidential London and Winchester-based clinics. Call us to arrange a consultation — appointments are available in-person or online at times to suit your schedule.