What Is Impotence?
Impotence is a condition that consistently affects a person’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection, or ability to achieve ejaculation. It’s a form of erectile dysfunction (ED).
There can be several contributing factors for impotence. These include both emotional and physical disorders. According to The Merck Manual, an estimated 50 percent of men ages 40 to 70 experience some ED at one time or another. The risk of impotence increases with age.
It’s also been noted that men with more education are less likely to experience impotence, probably because they have healthier lifestyles on average.
Impotence often has a negative affect on sex life, and can cause additional stress, depression, and low self-esteem.
Understanding the most common potential causes can help a person identify why they may be experiencing the condition.
1. Endocrine Diseases
The body’s endocrine system produces hormones that regulate metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, mood, and much more.
Diabetes is an example of an endocrine disease that can cause a person to experience impotence. Diabetes affects the body’s ability to utilize the hormone insulin. One of the side effects associated with chronic diabetes is nerve damage. This affects penis sensations. Other complications associated with diabetes are impaired blood flow and hormone levels. Both of these factors can contribute to impotence.
2. Neurological and Nerve Disorders
Several neurologic conditions can increase the risk for impotence. Nerve conditions affect the brain’s ability to communicate with the reproductive system. This can prevent a person from achieving an erection.
Neurological disorders associated with impotence include:
People who have had prostate gland surgery can also experience nerve damage that causes impotence.
Long distance bicycle riders can also experience temporary impotence. This is because repeated pressure on the buttocks and genitals can affect the function of the nerves.
3. Taking Medications
Taking certain medications can affect blood flow, which can lead to ED. A person should never stop taking a medicine without their doctor’s permission, even if it’s known to cause impotence.
Examples of medications known to cause impotence include:
4. Cardiac-Related Conditions
Conditions that affect the heart and its ability to pump blood well can cause impotence. Without enough blood flow to the penis, a person can’t achieve an erection.
Atherosclerosis, a condition that causes the blood vessels to become clogged, can cause impotence. High cholesterol and high blood pressure (hypertension) are also associated with increased risks for impotence.
5. Lifestyle Factors and Emotional Disorders
To achieve an erection, a person must first go through what’s known as an excitement phase. This phase can be an emotional response. If a person has an emotional disorder, this affects their ability to become sexually excited.
Depression and anxiety are associated with increased risk for impotence. Depression is a feeling of sadness, loss of hope, or helplessness. Fatigue related to depression can also cause impotence.
Performance anxiety can be another cause of impotence. If a person wasn’t able to achieve an erection in the past, he may fear he won’t be able to achieve an erection in the future. A person may also find he can’t achieve an erection with a certain partner. Someone with ED related to performance anxiety may be able to have full erections when masturbating or when sleeping, yet he isn’t able to maintain an erection during intercourse.
Abuse of drugs like cocaine and amphetamines can also cause impotence. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can affect a person’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection as well. See your doctor if you suspect that you may have a substance abuse problem.”
What causes Peyronie’s disease?
No one knows why the thickening occurs, but it is not a cancerous condition, nor is it the result of sexually transmitted disease or of any odd previous sexual practices. It is more common in smokers. There seems to be a link with some other conditions. For example, men with Peyronie’s disease are quite likely to have Dupuytren’s contracture, a thickening of fibrous tissue in the palm of the hand. They are also quite likely to have raised blood pressure; some doctors think that the blood pressure itself might be responsible for the penis problem, while others blame the drugs used to treat blood pressure (particularly beta-blockers).