All three of these involve specific bodily systems including the hormones, muscles, blood vessels, nervous system, and emotions. If any of these systems become compromised, it can cause ED. In the case of anxiety and stress, these things can affect the brain’s ability to send the necessary signals to trigger the desired physical response – an erection. Stress and anxiety can also contribute to an ongoing cycle of ED, as mentioned earlier.
These are not currently approved by the FDA for ED management, but they may be offered through research studies (clinical trials). Patients who are interested should discuss the risks and benefits (informed consent) of each, as well as costs before starting any clinical trials. Most therapies not approved by the FDA are not covered by government or private insurance benefits.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Sexual dysfunction and ED become more common as men age. The percentage of complete ED increases from 5% to 15% as age increases from 40 to 70 years. But this does not mean growing older is the end of your sex life. ED can be treated at any age. Also, ED may be more common in Hispanic men and in those with a history of diabetes, obesity, smoking, and hypertension. Research shows that African-American men sought medical care for ED twice the rate of other racial groups.

The most common treatment for erectile dysfunction is drugs known as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors. These include tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and sildenafil citrate (Viagra). These are effective for about 75% of men with erectile dysfunction. They are tablets that are taken around an hour before sex, and last between 4 and 36 hours. Sexual stimulation is required before an erection will occur. The PDE-5 inhibitors cause dilation of blood vessels in the penis to allow erection to occur, and help it to stay rigid. Men using nitrate medication (e.g. GTN spray or sublingual tablets for angina) should not use PDE-5 inhibitors.
There are a significant number of men under 40 who experience erectile dysfunction (ED). In the past, the vast majority of cases were thought to be psychogenic in nature. Studies have identified organic etiologies in 15-72% of men with ED under 40. Organic etiologies include vascular, neurogenic, Peyronie's disease (PD), medication side effects and endocrinologic sources. Vascular causes are commonly due to focal arterial occlusive disease. Young men with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and trauma in close proximity to the spinal cord are at increased risk of ED. It is estimated that 8% of men with PD are under 40, with 21% of these individuals experiencing ED. Medications causing ED include antidepressants, NSAIDs and finasteride (Propecia), antiepileptics and neuroleptics. Hormonal sources are uncommon in the young population, however possible etiologies include Klinefelter's syndrome, congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, and acquired hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. The workup of young men with ED should include a thorough history and physical examination. The significant prevalence of vascular etiologies of ED in young men should prompt consideration of nocturnal penile tumescence testing and penile Doppler ultrasound. Treatment options that may improve ED include exercise and oral PDE-5 inhibitors.
The condition is primarily treated by treating the underlying physical or psychological problem. The commonest cause is narrowing of the arteries or atherosclerosis. Presence of risk factors mandate changes in lifestyle and adopting measures to keep blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol under control. Regular exercise, healthy diet, quitting smoking, maintaining healthy body weight etc. are some important measures.

The main surgical treatment of ED involves insertion of a penile implant (also called penile prostheses). Because penile vascular surgery is not recommended for aging males who have failed oral PDE5 inhibitors, ICI or IU therapies, implants are the next step for these patients. Although placement of a penile implant is a surgery which carries risks, they have the highest rates of success and satisfaction among ED treatment options.
A study published in May 2014 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that some men can reverse erectile dysfunction with healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercise, weight loss, a varied diet, and good sleep. The Australian researchers also showed that even if erectile dysfunction medication is required, it's likely to be more effective if you implement these healthy lifestyle changes.

The development of an erection is a complex event involving integration of psychologic, neurologic, endocrine, vascular, and local anatomic systems. Positron emission tomography scanning studies have suggested that sexual arousal is activated in higher cortical centers that then stimulate the medial preoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus.5 These signals ultimately descend through a complex neural network involving the parasympathetic nervous system and eventually activate parasympathetic nerves in the sacral area (S2 to S4).


Fortunately, impotence is usually treatable. A thorough evaluation starting with a history and physical exam is needed to help diagnose the underlying cause. Once the cause of impotence is determined, treatment can be tailored to target that cause and any other contributing factors. Treatments used for impotence may include medications, vacuum devices, surgery, and psychotherapy.

Ultrasound with Doppler imaging (ultrasound plus evaluation of blood flow in the arteries and veins) can provide additional information about blood flow of the penis and may help in the evaluation of patients prior to surgical intervention. This study is typically performed after the injection of a chemical that causes the arteries to open up, a vasodilator (prostaglandin E1), into the corpora cavernosa in order to cause dilation of blood vessels and promote blood flow into the penis. The rate of blood flow into the penis can be measured along with an evaluation of problems with compression of the veins.


There are also injectable drugs for erectile dysfunction. Some men sustain stronger erections by injecting these medications directly into the penis. These drugs work by widening the blood vessels, causing the penis to become engorged with blood. Another option is a medicated pellet that is inserted into the urethra and can trigger an erection within 10 minutes. Patients should discuss the use of these injections in detail with their doctor before use.
I am 67 and, up to 8 years ago, I had very satisfying sex with my (now ex) wife, although even she would not qualify as good-looking, was a bit of a tomboy and suffered from bipolar syndrome. Having sex with her was very pleasant, we usually orgasmed together. We used to have intercourse twice a day, as a rule. And I could even masturbate in-between, was able to manipulate my penis up to almost having an orgasm and then ejaculate, without touching, from a very hard penis.
5. Medline Plus. US National Library of Medicine. NIH National Institutes of Health. Drugs that may cause impotence (updated 21 Jan 2015). http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/004024.htm (accessed Nov 2016). myDr myDr provides comprehensive Australian health and medical information, images and tools covering symptoms, diseases, tests, medicines and treatments, and nutrition and fitness.Related ArticlesImpotence treatmentsIf you have impotence (erectile dysfunction), the treatment your doctor recommends will depend on thErectile dysfunction: visiting your doctorFind out what questions a doctor may ask when discussing erectile dysfunction (ED, or impotenceGum disease linked to erectile dysfunctionAdvanced gum disease (periodontitis) has been linked to an increased risk of erectile dysfunction, wPeyronie's diseasePeyronie’s disease is condition where a band of scar tissue forms in the penis, causing aAdvertisement
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