Also referred to as impotence, erectile dysfunction is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. You shouldn’t necessarily be concerned if it happens time to time. However, if it is an ongoing problem, it can affect your self-confidence, cause stress, and create relationship issues. Difficulty keeping or getting an erection could be linked to an underlying health condition.


  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Trouble keeping an erection
  • Reduced sexual desire


Underlying causes include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Damage from cancer or surgery
  • Injuries
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Increased age
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship problems
  • Drug use
  • Alcohol use
  • Smoking

The brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels all contribute to male sexual arousal. A lot of times, erectile dysfunction is linked to a physical or psychological cause.

Risk Factors

Erections can take longer to develop and might not be very firm as you get older.

  • Medical conditions: especially diabetes or heart conditions
  • Tobacco use: it restricts blood flow to veins and arteries, which can cause chronic health conditions that lead to erectile dysfunction over time.
  • Certain medical treatments: for example prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer.
  • Injuries: particularly if they cause damage to the nerves or arteries that are responsible and control erections.
  • Psychological conditions: stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Being overweight
  • Medications


Oral Medications: This is a successful treatment for many men. Medication includes:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)
  • Avanafil (Stendra)

Penis Pump: To pull blood into your penis, a vacuum tube is used. Once you get an erection, you put a ring around the base of your penis to keep the erection in place. The erection usually lasts long enough for a couple to have sex. Unfortunately, ejaculation will be restricted and possible bruising to the penis may occur.

Exercise: Recent studies have shown that exercising can improve erectile dysfunction.

Psychological counseling: If your erectile dysfunction is due to stress, anxiety, or depression, your doctor may recommend that you talk with a psychologist or counselor.


  • Losing weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating well
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol use