Impotence/Erectile Dysfunction Introduction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) or male impotence is defined as the inability of a man to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for mutually satisfactory intercourse with his partner.
Sexual health and function are important determinants of quality of life. As Americans age, disorders such as erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence are becoming increasingly more important. Because this subject is discussed widely in the media, men and women of all ages are seeking guidance in an effort to improve their relationships and experience satisfying sex lives.
Sexual dysfunction is often associated with disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, nervous system disorders, and depression. Erectile dysfunction may also be an unwanted side effect from medication. In some men, sexual dysfunction may be the symptom of such disorders that brings them to the doctor's office.
The successful treatment of impotence has been demonstrated to improve intimacy and satisfaction, improve sexual aspects of quality of life as well as overall quality of life, and relieve symptoms of depression.
Premature ejaculation is often confused with erectile dysfunction. Premature ejaculation is a condition in which the entire process of arousal, erection, ejaculation, and climax occur very rapidly, often in just a few minutes or even seconds, leaving the partner unsatisfied. Premature ejaculation may accompany an erection problem such as ED but is generally treated differently.
Although this information focuses primarily on male ED, remember that the partner plays an integral role. If successful and effective management is to occur, any discussion of treatment should include the couple.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/18/2015
Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS
Stanley A Brosman, MD
Joseph A Salomone III, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Richard Harrigan, MD
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