Font Size
A
A
A

Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction) (cont.)

Symptoms

Symptoms of erection problems include being unable to:

  • Have an erection, most of the time.
  • Keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.
  • Keep an erection long enough to complete sexual intercourse.

Even with an erection problem, a man may still have sexual desire and be able to have an orgasm and to ejaculate.

What Happens

Most men have erection problems now and then. But when erection problems are lasting, they can affect your self-image, sex life, and relationship. When you have erection problems often, "performance anxiety" can make the problem worse. If you cannot keep an erection that is firm enough for intercourse, or if you have an orgasm before or right after entering your partner (premature ejaculation), you may feel frustrated and believe you aren't pleasing your partner. All of these things could affect how you view your relationship.

Fortunately, many of the things that cause erection problems can be treated.

What Increases Your Risk

Your risk of having an erection problem increases with age. Other things that increase your risk include:

  • Diseases that affect blood vessels, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. About half of men with diabetes develop erection problems.
  • Diseases that affect nerves. These include multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
  • Medicines.
  • Smoking or using tobacco.
  • Other health problems, such as low testosterone levels.
  • Injuries to the pelvic area, a spinal cord injury, or treatment such as pelvic surgery or radiation in the pelvic area.
  • Using substances, such as long-term (chronic) alcohol abuse.
  • Psychological risk factors, such as depression or a recent life change.

Activities that constrict blood flow to the penis may increase the risk for erection problems. For example, frequent long-distance bicycle riding on a hard, narrow saddle may increase risk. But the possible link between bike riding and erection problems has not been proved. Experts continue to debate this issue.

A vasectomy usually doesn't cause erection problems. But pain after the operation may affect sexual performance for a time. And if a man wasn't comfortable with his decision to have a vasectomy, or if he's having second thoughts, it could affect him psychologically.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.



NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD


Medical Dictionary