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Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is a common sexual problem for men. It often occurs in men over the age of 40.

Lots of men have problems getting an erection on occasion, but if it is a recurrent issue, you should speak to your consultant because it could be indicative of a different health condition.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection, which hinders the ability to have sex.

What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

When you have erectile dysfunction you regularly experience problems getting and maintaining an erection. You also may have a reduced sexual desire overall.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

There are many causes, both physical and psychological, of erectile dysfunction and they can include:

  • Restricted blood flow to the penis
  • Nerve damage (either from disease or injury)
  • Obesity
  • Substance abuse
  • Smoking
  • Prescription medications
  • Heart disease or diabetes
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Treatment for prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate
  • Surgery in the pelvic area or around the spinal cord
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • Sleep disorders
  • Low testosterone
  • Stress or anxiety

How is erectile dysfunction diagnosed?

If you’ve been regularly experiencing difficulties getting or maintaining an erection, you should speak to your consultant.

At your appointment, your consultant will ask about your medical history and conduct a physical examination. Occasionally, they might recommend that you undergo further tests, including:

  • Urinalysis (urine tests)
  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasounds
  • Psychological assessments

How is erectile dysfunction treated?

There are a variety of ways to treat erectile dysfunction, and you and your consultant can discuss what they think might work best for you. Some treatment options for erectile dysfunction include:

  • Medications (e.g. Viagra)
  • Hormone replacement
  • Penis pumps
  • Penile implants
  • Psychological counselling

If you’re unsure what treatment you should go for, or the above treatments don’t work for you, our team of expert specialists are here to help.

This content has been checked and approved by

Professor David Ralph  ›

David Ralph is a Consultant Urologist at King Edward VII’s Hospital

Find your specialist in erectile dysfunction at King Edward VII's Hospital

If you suspect you have erectile disfunction and you’re seeking an expert opinion, you can find the UK’s leading urology specialists here at King Edward VII’s Hospital. Our consultants are hand-picked for you, making it easy to access the best possible care.

Professor David Ralph  ›
Special interests include:
Male infertility (+ 6) more
Miss Philippa Sangster  ›
Special interests include:
Hypogonadism (+ 3) more

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