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Men's Sexual Health » Erectile Dysfunction - (ED)

Erectile dysfunction

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is defined by the European Association of urologists as the “persistent inability to attain and maintain an erection sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual performance”.

Erectile dysfunction is sometimes referred to as impotence and affects about 1 in 10 men, that’s around 2.3 million men in the UK alone. On average 9 out of 10 men with the problem will not seek help or advice. In approximately 80% of cases erectile dysfunction has a medical cause which means that it may be a physical symptom of another illness and by treating the cause it can alleviate the problem.

What might cause erectile dysfunction?

Diabetes is one of the biggest causes of ED, with over 30% of diabetics having the problem.

The second most common cause is heart disease. Others include high blood pressure, prostate problems, hormonal problems, spinal cord injury and neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis. In about 20% of cases it may have a psychological basis but there may be a combination of both physical and psychological factors. Some medications may cause ED and it would be worth checking the information sheet that accompanies your medication or to ask your doctor. Examples include blood pressure tablets, angina tablets, antidepressants as well as alcohol and smoking.

The most important thing to note is to TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM.

Who does it affect?

ED affects both parties in a relationship. A woman may worry that her partner has tired of her, is he having an affair, does he not find her attractive anymore or is he ill.
For a man, it is often a very difficult topic to discuss, it can affect his general wellbeing and lead to a sense of failure and isolation. Some couples can spilt up over the problem (up to 1 in 5). By talking about the problem and getting a treatment that suits a couple’s relationship many couples can end up feeling closer.

What is the treatment?

There are now over 10 different treatments available to treat ED. The most common is tablets but there are others such as injections and insertions.

What should I do if I suffer from erectile dysfunction?

If you have a problem in getting or maintaining an erection it is important that you and your partner discuss the problem and get an appointment with your doctor or our department to look at possible causes and treatment options.

Further information and advice can be obtained from

www.manmatters.co.uk – tel: 0800 096 1186,
www.sda.uk.net - sexual dysfunction Association, tel: 08707743571
www.relate.org.uk – tel: 0845 456 13610
www.relationships-scotlanddg.org.uk - tel: 01387 251 245