Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection for sexual intercourse. An estimated 10 million to 20 million American men have been diagnosed with ED, and an additional 10 million having partial erectile dysfunction. Cases of ED become more prevalent with age, and the majority of those diagnosed are 65 or older. At least half of men older than 50 have some degree of erectile dysfunction.
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Erectile dysfunction is typically associated with aging, but it may also be a consequence of illness or medical treatments. It can occur in men even in their 20s. Causes include low blood flow into the erectile tissue, impaired nerve impulses from the brain to the penis and health conditions including diabetes, kidney disease, vascular disease, neurological diseases and prostate cancer.
An occasional inability to achieve an erection is normal and shouldn’t be cause for worry. But failure to reach or sustain an erection more than half of the time, at any age, may indicate a condition that needs treatment.
A physician will perform a physical exam and a psychosocial evaluation to determine stress levels. It is essential to provide a detailed history of medication and drug use since nearly 25% of ED cases can be attributed to medications for other conditions. A series of tests are available, including:
Depending on the cause and severity of your condition, there are several treatment options available, including: