Signs Of Impotence and What Causes It
Impotence is the inability to obtain and maintain an erection of the penis, which is necessary to penetrate the vagina during sexual intercourse.
Internal spaces in the penis (called corpora cavernosa) normally fill with blood during sexual excitement and cause the penis to become rigid and erect. Impotence is a partial or total impairment of this function. There are two types of impotence. Primary impotence is when a man is never able to have an erection adequate for sexual intercourse to the satisfaction of both partners. Secondary impotence is the more common type.
Many men experience temporary impotence at some point in their lives, but recurring impotence can lower a man’s self-esteem and put a strain on his marriage or social relationships. Men who have persistent erection troubles come to view sex with anxiety and overwhelming seriousness. That makes good sex impossible.
Impotence can be caused by either physical or psychological problems. It may be brought on by job related stress, fear of causing pregnancy, exhaustion, smoking, and taking certain medications such as antidepressants, antihypertensive and anti-anxiety agents, unresolved conflict of sexuality or fear of sex after a heart attack or major surgery. Emotional problems such as these, along with drug and alcohol abuse, are some of the leading causes of impotence. Most erectile problems are curable thanks to drugs like Viagra, injectable drugs and penile implants.
Until recently, psychological problems were thought to be the only cause of impotence, but several physical disorders are now known to trigger the problem such as an imbalance in the hormonal system, which may cause a decrease in production of testosterone, the male hormone necessary for an erection, certain drugs used to treat high blood pressure, diseases of the nervous system as in multiple sclerosis, structural abnormalities or injury to the penis, and malfunctioning of the circulatory system, which can interfere with blood flow to the penis.
Several tests can be used to help diagnose the cause of impotence. A blood test will show whether adequate levels of testosterone are present. A blood pressure cuff specially designed to wrap around the penis, coupled with ultrasound, detects blood pressure and blood vessel problems. Another test measures the size of erection that naturally occurs during sleep.
Impotence is treated with surgery, testosterone injections, penile implants, and psychological counseling. Penile implants represent a successful new treatment for impotence, with several varieties now in use. One is a silicone rod implanted in the corpora cavernosa, resulting in a penis that is semi-erect at all times.
Another is a flexible silver wire surrounded by silicone, which, when implanted, allows the penis to be manipulated to an erect angle for intercourse. A third model consist of balloon-like cylinders implanted in the corpora cavernosa and attached to a container of fluid, which, when activated by a hand pump, fill them the way blood normally fill the penis during an erection.
Avoiding abuse of drugs and alcohol as well as eliminating or coping with stress should help to prevent at least some episodes of secondary impotence.
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