Treating Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction – also called impotence – is the inability to get and maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. An occasional problem achieving an erection is not necessarily a cause for concern, but if erectile dysfunction is an ongoing problem it can lead to stress, may cause relationship issues, or can affect a man’s self-confidence.

Common causes of erectile dysfunction can include heart disease, psychological factors, high blood pressure, chronic illness, certain medications or advanced age. Smoking, obesity and alcohol/drug abuse can also put someone at risk for developing erectile dysfunction.

Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

Common symptoms related to erectile dysfunction include:

  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Difficulty maintaining an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire

It is important to tell your doctor if you experience any problems such as those described above. In many cases, these symptoms suggest erectile dysfunction, but they can also be signs of another health condition.

Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction

For most men with symptoms of erectile dysfunction, a physical exam and a medical history review is all that is needed in order to recommend a treatment. However, your doctor may suggest additional tests, which could include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Ultrasound
  • Overnight erection test

Treating Erectile Dysfunction

Having periodic trouble keeping an erection is usually nothing to worry about, but failure to do so more than half of the time at any age may indicate a condition that needs treatment.

Treatment for erectile dysfunction often begins with oral medications. There are a variety of effective medications that can successfully treat erectile dysfunction.

Other options that your doctor may recommend may include injections, testosterone replacement therapy, pumps, implants, or blood vessel surgery. If your erectile dysfunction is possibly caused by stress, anxiety or depression, your doctor may suggest psychological counseling as well.

Additional Information on Erectile Dysfunction

The Urology Care Foundation, the official foundation of the American Urologic Association, has produced a series of brochures about erectile dysfuction, available below:


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    West Chester, PA 19380

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