Common Health Problems  »  Men’s Health


With, erectile dysfunction (ED), a male can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sex in 25% or more of attempts. Sometimes, ED is called impotence. Impotence can be ED, but can also mean a lack of sexual desire and problems with orgasm.

Signs & Symptoms

  1. Not being able to get an erection at all.

  2. An erection is too brief, weak, or painful for satisfying sex.

  3. An erection loses strength with penetration.


Blood vessel diseases, diabetes, and other physical problems are the usual cause of ED. Other causes are smoking and a side effect of some medicines, such as beta-blockers and water pills. Only 10% to 20% of ED cases are due to emotional factors, such as stress and fear of not being able to perform. Suspect this cause if erections occur during sleep or when waking up.

Self-Care / Prevention

  1. Take medicine for ED as prescribed.

  2. Check with your doctor before you take herbs, etc. sold for ED. These include Actra-Rx, ginko biloba, yohimbe, Siberian ginseng, and Yilishen.

  3. If you have diabetes, follow your treatment plan.

  4. Don’t smoke. Don’t use street drugs.

  5. Don’t have more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day.

  6. Relax. Manage stress. Get plenty of rest.

  7. Share your fears, needs, etc. with your partner.

  8. Don’t focus just on performance. Find pleasure when you hug, kiss, and caress your partner.

Questions to Ask

Did ED occur with prostate or other surgery, trauma to the pelvis, or after taking prescribed medicines?

Does ED cause a problem for you or your partner?

  1. Treatment for conditions that cause ED.

  2. Medication.

  3. A vacuum erection device.

  4. Self-injection therapy or a penile implant.


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