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Symptoms and Signs of Impotence/Erectile Dysfunction

Doctor's Notes on Impotence/Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (impotence or ED) is defined as the inability of a male to achieve and/or maintain a hard enough erection sufficient for satisfactory completion of sexual activity. Signs and symptoms are described in the definition. Other signs and symptoms may include anxiety, stress, premature ejaculation, decreased libido and depression. ED may be considered a potential symptom of other problems like coronary artery disease.

In general, causes of ED are divided into organic (physical) and psychogenic (mental). Many men have both general causes. Organic causes of ED may include arterial vascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, angina, high blood pressure, tobacco use, diabetes, prostate enlargement, scleroderma, cirrhosis, cancers, COPD, thyroid problems, pituitary problems, low testosterone and other diseases and trauma to the male sex organs. Psychological conditions include depression, anxiety, widower syndrome (grief due to loss of spouse). Many men with ED have several contributing specific causes.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence) : Causes & Treatment Quiz

Impotence Quiz

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is…

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.