Conditions InDepth: Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to attain or maintain an erection of the penis that is firm enough for penetration during sexual intercourse.The condition is also called impotence. To initiate and maintain an erection, the penis must fill with blood. Nerve signals stimulate this blood fill. The nerves prompt certain blood vessels in the penis to expand so blood can fill it. Meanwhile, other blood vessels constrict, trapping blood inside.
|Male Genitourinary System|
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- Diabetes—can interfere with nerve signals
- Arteriosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries—can reduce blood flow
- Peripheral neuropathy, spinal cord injury, and surgery—can affect nerve function
Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated August 8, 2013. Accessed August 22, 2013.
Guay AT, Spark RF, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of male sexual dysfunction: a couple’s problem. 2003 update. Endocr Pract. 2003;9:77-95.
Erectile dysfunction. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/ED/index.aspx. Updated March 28, 2012. Accessed August 22, 2013.
Erectile dysfunction. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/content/moreinfo/ed-factsheet.pdf. Updated 2009. Accessed August 22, 2013.
Sivalingam S, Hashim H, et al. An overview of the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction. Drugs. 2006;66:2339-2355.
Webber R. Erectile dysfunction. Clinical Evidence. 2005;13:1120-1127.
- Reviewer: Adrienne Carmack, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013
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