Impotence is a common problem among men and is characterized by the consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse or the inability to achieve ejaculation, or both. Erectile dysfunction can vary. It can involve a total inability to achieve an erection or ejaculation, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only very brief erections.
The risk of impotence increases with age. It is much more frequent in men in their 60s compared with those in their 40s. Men with less education are also more likely to experience impotence, perhaps because they tend to have less healthy lifestyles, eat a less healthy diet, drink more, and exercise less.
Causes of impotence are many and include heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Peyronie's disease, substance abuse, sleep disorders, BPH treatments, relationship problems, blood vessel diseases (such as peripheral vascular disease and others), systemic disease, hormonal imbalance, and medications (such as blood pressure and heart medications).
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Causes and Treatment
Having erection problems? What is erectile dysfunction (ED)? Learn about erectile dysfunction causes and treatments such as drugs...
Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence) Quiz: Causes & Treatment
Did you know that certain medical condition may be responsible for ED? Some causes of impotence are medically treatable and...
Sex-Drive Killers: The Causes of Low Libido
Noticing a lack of intimacy with your partner? Here we explore how stress, lack of sleep, weight gain, depression and low T can...
Stress Quiz: Test Your Emotional IQ
Stress creeps into everyone's life at one time or another, while some people will suffer from poorly managed chronic stress. If...
Causes of Impotence
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as...
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one...
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are...
Kidney Failure (Symptoms, Signs, Stages, Causes, and Treatment)
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss,...
Low Testosterone (Low T)
Low testosterone (low-T) can be caused by conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver or kidney disease, hormonal...
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Life Expectancy
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage...
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and...
Prostatitis vs. BPH (Enlarged Prostate) Differences and Similarities
Prostatitis and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia, enlarged prostate gland) are both conditions of the prostate gland. There...
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or...
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which a person's pancreas does not produce enough insulin to meet the needs of the body....
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with rickets, cancer, cardiovascular disease, severe asthma in children and cognitive...
Other Causes of Impotence
- Injuries or Surgery (to the Penis, Spinal Cord, Prostate, Bladder, and Pelvis)
- Medications (Both Prescription and Nonprescription)