Impotence is the inability to attain or maintain an erection of the penis that is firm enough for sexual intercourse.
To initiate and maintain an erection, the penis must fill with blood. Nerve signals cause the blood to flow there. The blood vessels expand so blood can fill it. Meanwhile, other blood vessels constrict, trapping blood inside.
The following factors can cause erectile dysfunction:
A leak in the blood vessels in the penis can allow blood to escape. This means that an erection cannot be made or may not last long. Injury or disease can cause a venous leak.
Problems with nerve signals and blood flow
Nerve dysfunction—can reduce feeling in the penis, resulting in impotence
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Expect questions about the frequency, quality, and duration of your erections. Your answers may help the diagnosis.
The doctor will examine your penis, testes, and rectum. If a physical cause is suspected, you will need lab tests, including:
Hormone levels such as
thyroid function tests
Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Testing
This test can help your doctor determine if the cause is due to emotional problems or physical problems.
imaging may be done to look at the blood flow. The test is also done to check for blockage in the arteries or veins that supply the penis.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a