Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)
Symptom Checker: Symptoms & Signs Index
Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Impotence is a common problem among men and is characterized by the consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse or the inability to achieve ejaculation, or both. Erectile dysfunction can vary. It can involve a total inability to achieve an erection or ejaculation, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only very brief erections.
The risk of impotence increases with age. It is fourfold higher in men in their 60s compared with those in their 40s according to a study published in the Journal of Urology (2000;163:460-463). Men with less education are also more likely to experience impotence, perhaps because they tend to have less healthy lifestyles, eat a less healthy diet, drink more, and exercise less.
Causes of impotence are many and include blood vessel diseases (such as peripheral vascular disease and others), systemic disease, hormonal imbalance, and medications (such as blood pressure and heart medications).
Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
Main Article on Impotence
Causes of Impotence
In This ArticleAlcoholism Article
- Alcohol use disorder facts
- What is alcohol abuse?
- What is alcoholism?
- What differentiates alcohol abuse from alcoholism?
- What are risk factors for alcoholism?
- What causes alcoholism? Is alcoholism hereditary?
- What are alcohol use disorder symptoms and signs in teenagers, women, men, and the elderly?
- How do physicians diagnose alcohol use disorder?
- What are the stages of alcohol use disorder?
- What is the treatment for alcohol use disorder?
- What medications treat alcohol use disorder?
- How can you tell if someone has a drinking problem?
- Can an alcoholic just cut back or stop drinking?
- Is there a safe level of drinking?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant?
- How can someone find more information or get help or support to treat alcohol use disorder?
- What are the long-term physical and psychological effects of alcohol use disorder?
- What is codependency, and what is the treatment for codependency?
- Is it possible to prevent alcohol use disorder?
- What is the prognosis of alcohol use disorder?
In This ArticleDepression Article
- Depression facts
- What is a depressive disorder?
- What are myths about depression?
- What are the types of depression, and what are depression symptoms and signs?
- Depression symptoms and signs in men
- Depression symptoms and signs in women
- Depression symptoms and signs in teenagers
- Depression symptoms and signs in children
- What are the causes and risk factors for depression?
- Postpartum depression
- How is depression diagnosed?
- What treatments are available for depression?
- What is the general approach to treating depression?
- What about sexual dysfunction related to antidepressants?
- What about discontinuing antidepressants?
- What are complications of depression?
- What is the prognosis for depression?
- How can depression be prevented?
- What about self-help and home remedies for depression?
- How can someone help a person who is depressed?
- Where can one seek help for depression?
- What is in the future for depression?
- Where can people find more information about depression?
In This ArticleDiabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Article
- Diabetes facts
- What is diabetes?
- What is the impact of diabetes?
- What causes diabetes?
- What are the different types of diabetes?
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Other types of diabetes
- What are diabetes symptoms?
- How is diabetes diagnosed?
- Why is blood sugar checked at home?
- What are the acute complications of diabetes?
- What are the chronic complications of diabetes?
- What can be done to slow diabetes complications?
In This ArticleMultiple Sclerosis (MS) Article
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) facts
- What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?
- What causes multiple sclerosis?
- What are the risk factors for developing MS?
- What are multiple sclerosis symptoms and signs?
- What are the different types of MS?
- How do doctors diagnose multiple sclerosis?
- What are multiple sclerosis treatment options?
- What is the prognosis and life expectancy for multiple sclerosis?
- Is it possible to prevent multiple sclerosis?
- What research is being done on MS?
In This ArticleProstate Cancer Article
- Prostate cancer facts*
- What is prostate cancer?
- What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?
- How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
- Prostate cancer biopsy
- The accuracy of the PSA test
- What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
- What are the stages of prostate cancer?
- What is the prognosis for prostate cancer?
- What are the treatment options for prostate cancer?
- Watchful waiting
- Radiation therapy
- Hormonal therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Monoclonal antibody therapy
- Research techniques
- Complementary and alternative care approaches
- Prostate cancer prevention
In This ArticleSmoking (How to Quit Smoking) Article
- Smoking and quitting smoking facts
- What problems are caused by smoking?
- What is addictive disease and why is smoking considered an addictive disease?
- What are the signs of cigarette addiction?
- Why should someone quit smoking?
- What are the steps in quitting?
- Getting ready to quit smoking
- On the day you quit smoking
- Staying quit
- What methods can help a person quit smoking?
- Behavioral modification and self-help literature to quit smoking
- Nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking
- What prescription products are available for smoking cessation?
- How are nicotine-containing products used safely?
- What is in the future for smoking?
In This ArticleStress Article
- Stress facts
- What is stress?
- A brief history of stress
- What are the signs and symptoms of poorly managed stress?
- Who is most vulnerable to stress?
- Teen stress
- What is the healthy response to stress?
- How does the response to stress work?
- What is the role of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (grouping) in stress?
- What is the role of the locus coeruleus in stress?
- How do the connections in the brain work in stress?
- What do we know about using (activating) and overusing our internal systems that respond to stress?
- What are the effects of stress on medical and psychological conditions?
- Conclusions about the effects of stress
- What can people do for stress management?
- What's in the future for stress?
Other Causes of Impotence
- Injuries or Surgery (to the Penis, Spinal Cord, Prostate, Bladder, and Pelvis)
- Medications (Both Prescription and Nonprescription)
Examples of Medications for Impotence
Symptoms & Signs A-Z List
Sex & Relationships
Get tips to boost your love life.