Impotency, also known as erectile dysfunction (ED), impacts men and is medically defined as the inability to either obtain or maintain an erection. Though frustrating and potentially life-altering, impotence is a relatively common health-related issue.
Researchers estimate that as many as three million individuals are stricken with impotency each year. Impotency can have a profound impact on fertility.
Impotency can be caused by a host of different physical and psychological issues, as well as lifestyle habits.
- Physical Problems – Erectile dysfunction can be the result of several conditions and ailments such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and other tremor disorders, reproductive system maladies, certain forms of cancer (particularly prostate malignancies), diabetes, the ingestion of certain medications and multiple sclerosis.
- Psychological Matters – Impotency might also be the result of mental struggles brought forth by a lack of sleep, excessive stress exposure, anxiety and depression.
- Lifestyle Vices – Sometimes, erectile dysfunction can be precipitated by overindulging in potentially dangerous personal vices like exorbitant alcohol consumption, excessive cigarette smoking and chronic or heavy usage of illicit drugs.
Impotence is not defined as the inability to not become sexually aroused from time to time. Typically, individuals with this problem have a chronic, consistent inability to achieve erection, as well as maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. As the condition progresses, those stricken might also experience decreased libido (sex drive). Moreover, should the malady be long-standing, the effected person might experience bouts of depression, which could become severe.
Impact Upon Fertility
Anyone familiar with basic biology knows that erections are needed to engage in intercourse. Moreover, intercourse is necessary for conception. Ergo, couples of which the male partner is experiencing impotence often experience significant difficulties conceiving.
That said, however, the problems often progress well beyond basic infertility. The strain the problem places on a relationship can be enormous. A lack of joyful sex can place a serious wedge between two committed partners. When the couple is attempting to have children, those issues can increase.
Potential Treatment Options
Naturally, the specific therapeutic protocols prescribed by one’s general practitioner or sexual specialist doctor will depend upon the exact underlying issue precipitating the impotency. Some remedies include:
- Lifestyle Changes – Should erectile dysfunction be traced back to a lifestyle vice such as drinking or smoking excessively, cessation of these habits might produce intended results.
- Review Medications – In circumstances where impotency is directly correlated to the medications the individual is taking, a change in dosage or the administration of a different drug might offer better results.
- Treat Underlying Medical Issues – If erectile dysfunction is symptomatic of a specific health problem, addressing the ailment might end incidents of impotence.
- Lower Stress Levels – When the problem is linked to stress, identifying productive and healthy stress-busting methods might prove beneficial.
- Consider Medications – Certain prescription medications might help afflicted individuals overcome bouts of impotency. These drugs, however, are capable of producing side effects. Therefore, medications should only be taken under a physician’s watchful eye.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy – Certain reproductive system maladies that precipitate the development of low testosterone and systemic concentrations of other sex hormones also leads to impotence. Occasionally, hormone replacement therapy might provide relief from erectile dysfunction.
- Natural Methods – In some cases, employing natural methods such as ingesting herbal extracts known for enhancing sexual desire and performance might prove effective.
- Attend Counseling – Sometimes, overcoming the fear and anxiety associated with sex is necessary. Men stricken with impotency for any length of time might feel that performance anxiety hinders their ability to engage in satisfying intercourse.