Physical causes include low testosterone levels, diabetes , arteriosclerosis , prostate cancer surgery, and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. Many drugs, illicit (e.g., marijuana , heroin , and cocaine ) and prescription (e.g., ulcer medicines such as cimetidine (Tagamet) and hypertension medicines such as beta-blockers and diuretics ), have been associated with impotence in some men. Smoking and alcoholism also can inhibit sexual excitement. Often, more than one factor is involved. In general, anything that can affect the flow of blood to the penis can cause impotence.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause, and may involve education and counseling of the man and his partner. Treatments include self-injection of a vasodilating drug before intercourse, and implantation of rod-shaped devices into the penis that are inflated via an attached fluid reservoir. In 1998 the first prescription medication for the treatment of impotence, sildenafil (Viagra), was approved for sale in the United States. It acts by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), which can end an erection prematurely vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis) work similarly.
See also sex therapy .
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Pathology
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-