Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain a sufficient erection for satisfactory sexual performance (as defined in December, 1992 by The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on Impotence). Erectile dysfunction is one form of male infertility. Experiencing difficulties getting or maintain an erection should only become a reason for concern if it happens on a regular basis and might indicate the existence of an underlying health condition necessitating treatment


Physical causes:

Heart disease

High cholesterol

High blood pressure

Atherosclerosis (clogged blood vessels)



Metabolic syndrome (a condition involving a variety of erectile inhibiting factors such as: increased blood pressure, high cholesterol, high insulin levels)

Parkinson’s disease

Multiple sclerosis

Peyronie’s disease (a condition involving the growth of scar tissue inside the penis)

Certain prescription drugs


Drinking alcohol (and other forms of substance abuse)

Sleep disorders

Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate

Surgeries or injuries affecting the pelvic area or the spinal cord


Psychological causes:



Other forms of mental health conditions

High levels of stress


Sometimes, it is a combination of physical and psychological causes that are responsible for erectile dysfunction, while the anxiety concerning the issue itself usually worsens and prolongs the condition

Symptoms and signs

Signs may include the persistence of one or a combination of the following:

Difficulty getting aroused (getting an erection)


Difficulty maintaining arousal (maintaining the erection)


Reduced libido


Oral medications:





These medications enhance the effects of nitric oxide, a natural chemical produced in the body that relaxes the muscles in the penis, increases blood flow and allows for an easier maintenance of an erection

Taking these medications does not produce an immediate erection, but function by enhancing the body’s signal to release nitric oxide in aiding the sexual stimulation managed by each individual personally and without medicated assistance

Other medications:

Alprostadil self-injection – the drug is injected with a fine needle into the base or the side of the penis, producing an erection usually lasting up to an hour

Alprostadil urethral suppository – a small alprostadil suppository is introduced into the penis, inside the penal urethra, the erection usually occurring after 10 minutes and can last between 30 minutes to 60 minutes

Testosterone replacement for enhancing low levels of testosterone

Other available treatments if medication proves inefficient:

Penis pumps which are hollow tubes (either hand-powered or battery-powered) that are placed over the penis while the pump creates a vacuum to drain out the air from inside the tube, causing blood to pull into the penis. After achieving an erection, a tension ring is placed at the base of the penis to maintain the blood and keep the penis firm, while the tube is removed

Penile implants involve surgically placing inflatable or semirigid rods into both sides of the penis. The inflatable devices allow for controlling the time and length of an erection

Blood vessel surgery is used to repair faulty blood vessels causing erectile dysfunction

Psychological counseling for overcoming the stress and anxiety either causing the dysfunction or resulting because of it

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a normal part of aging – it is a medical condition that need not be present in old age

    Wearing tight underwear is responsible for ED

    ED only occurs due to relationship problems – in the majority of cases of ED, causes are physical

    ED only occurs in old age

    Oral medications (such as Viagra) are the only treatment available

    Men with ED have no sexual desire

    It is a shameful condition that should not be brought to a physician’s attention

    The impact of ED only affects the man – it affects both him and his partner


1 in 10 men in the world are thought to suffer from erectile dysfunction

It is estimated that half of all men who have diabetes suffer from erectile dysfunction

If a man smokes more than 1 packet of cigarettes per day then they have a 50% higher chance of erectile problems than a man who is a non-smoker

Men over the age of 75 have a 77.5% chance of suffering from erectile problems

Men between the ages of 20 and 29 only have a 6.5% chance of having erectile problems

A shocking estimate is that only 33% of men who have erectile dysfunctions seek help and advice about their problems

Over 20 million men all over the world have used or are currently using Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction

In 66% of the times that Viagra is taken, men are able to have sexual intercourse

48% of men suffer one or more side effects when using Viagra

Underlying health issues such as diabetes or heart disease account for 70% of all erectile dysfunction cases

Psychological causes such as stress and anxiety are estimated to cause around 10 % to 20% of all erectile dysfunction cases

It is estimated that in 80% of all cases the causes of erectile problems are down to physical reasons

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 50% of men older than 40 years, significantly altering their quality of life

In the National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS), a nationally representative probability sample of men and women aged 18-59 years, 10.4% of men reported being unable to achieve or maintain an erection during the past year

About 35-40% of men with low testosterone see an improvement in their erections with testosterone replacement

Did you know?

Studies have shown that prolonged bicycling can cause a compression of nerves and affects blood flow to the penis, which may lead to temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction


Doing Kegel exercises have been shown to improve men’s pelvic floor muscles also increasing the chance of having stronger orgasms