MFS Fertility Blog

Getting Help for Erectile Dysfunction

Posted on April 18, 2013

Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, refers to the inability to develop or sustain an erection. About 40 percent of men 40 years or older experience some degree of erectile dysfunction (ED), and this number increases to 70 percent in men who are 70 years or older. Although the major impact of impotence is on your sex life, it can also affect your fertility.

Physcial Causes of Impotence
Physical causes of impotence are typically related to circulatory or nervous system problems: arteriosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) leads to inadequate blood flow to the penis, impeding a firm or lasting erection; hormonal insufficiencies, aging, and trauma (such as a previous prostatectomy or radiation treatments for prostate cancer) can lessen erection; and chronic illnesses, (including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and diabetes) can also contribute to the development of erectile dysfunction.

Lifestyle Causes of Impotence
In addition to health problems, several lifestyle factors are also associated with increased risk of ED; these include smoking, using alcohol and certain medications (such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and tranquilizers), lack of exercise, and being overweight. Impotence can also have a large psychological component, and performance anxiety, stress, depression, and poor self-esteem are all factors that can worsen the symptoms of ED.

Impotence and Infertility
Impotence does not directly affect fertility – which depends on the production of healthy sperm. In fact, men who are impotent usually produce sperm that are perfectly capable of impregnating their partner. However, impotence can lead to infertility because it impairs the natural delivery system of sperm into the partner. 

Treatment Options
In most cases, erectile dysfunction is temporary and treatable. Treatment ultimately depends on the underlying cause of the ED.  When appropriate, medication can be administered orally (such as Cialis and Viagra), topically, or by injection into the penis.  Hormonal replacement therapy, surgical implants, external vacuum pumps, and alternative medicines are other alternatives.  Lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, weight loss, and regular aerobic exercise can significantly improve the symptoms of ED.

If you suffer from impotence, seek consultation to find out what lifestyle changes and treatment options are available.

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