Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get a good enough erection to have sexual intercourse. ED may involve:

  • Inability to get an erection.

  • Lack of enough hardness to allow penetration.

  • Loss of the erection before sex is finished.

  • Premature ejaculation.

  • Any combination of these problems if they occur more than 25% of the time.

CAUSES

  • Certain drugs, such as:

  • Pain relievers.

  • Antihistamines.

  • Antidepressants.

  • Blood pressure medicines.

  • Water pills.

  • Ulcer medicines.

  • Muscle relaxants.

  • Illegal drugs.

  • Excessive drinking.

  • Psychological causes, such as:

  • Anxiety.

  • Depression.

  • Sadness.

  • Exhaustion.

  • Performance fear.

  • Stress.

  • Physical causes, such as:

  • Artery problems. This may include diabetes, smoking, liver disease, or atherosclerosis.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Hormonal problems, such as low testosterone.

  • Obesity.

  • Nerve problems. This may include back or pelvic injuries, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or some surgeries.

SYMPTOMS

  • Inability to get an erection.

  • Lack of enough hardness to allow penetration.

  • Loss of the erection before sex is finished.

  • Premature ejaculation.

  • Normal erections at some times, but with frequent unsatisfactory episodes.

  • Orgasms that are not satisfactory in sensation or frequency.

  • Low sexual satisfaction in either partner because of erection problems.

  • A curved penis occurring with erection. The curve may cause pain or may be too curved to allow for intercourse.

  • Never having nighttime erections.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver can often diagnose this condition by:

  • Performing a physical exam to find other diseases or specific problems with the penis.

  • Asking you detailed questions about the problem.

  • Performing blood tests to check for diabetes or to measure hormone levels.

  • Performing urine tests to find other underlying health conditions.

  • Performing an ultrasound to check for scarring.

  • Performing a test to check blood flow to the penis.

  • Doing a sleep study at home to measure nighttime erections.

TREATMENT

  • You may be prescribed medicines by mouth.

  • You may be given medicine injections into the penis.

  • You may be prescribed a vacuum pump with a ring.

  • Penile implant surgery may be performed. You may receive:

  • An inflatable implant.

  • A semi-rigid implant.

  • Blood vessel surgery may be performed.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Take all medicine as directed by your caregiver. Do not take any other medicines without talking to your caregiver first.

  • Follow your caregiver's directions for specific treatments as prescribed.

  • Follow up with your caregiver as directed.