Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a medical term that describes the inability to achieve and or maintain an erect penis adequate for sexual function. This condition is one of the most common sexual problems for men and the incidence increases with age. It is estimated that up to 30 million American men suffer from ED.

Most men have difficulty with erections from time to time, yet in some men, it is a regular and more severe problem. It can cause low self-esteem, performance anxiety, depression and stress. ED may also affect the quality of a marriage or intimate relationships. However, there are many safe and effective ED treatments available.

Causes of ED

There are several risk factors that can increase the risk of ED:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure / Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Low testosterone
  • Pelvic surgery, such as prostatectomy or rectal surgery
  • Stress
  • Age (especially after age 50)
  • Anxiety
  • Back injury


ED can occur to various degrees:

  • Unable to stay erect until ejaculation
  • Inability to become firm enough for penetration
  • Complete loss of erections


ED is typically diagnosed through a detailed history and review of symptoms. It is important to note the conditions in which your erection problems occur (e.g. you have normal erections in the morning but not adequate during intercourse) as this may help determine an appropriate treatment plan. Blood tests may be ordered to determine the level of testosterone in your blood stream.


Your doctor may recommend treating your ED with:

  • Oral medications
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Penile injection therapy
  • Intrauretheral suppository therapy
  • Vacuum erection device
  • Penile implant
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