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Impotence: Introduction

Impotence is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection that is sufficient to complete sexual intercourse. Impotence is a common condition that may temporarily affect most men at some time in their lives. If impotence is short-lived and does not recur frequently, it is generally considered normal. If impotence persists, impotence can result in complications, such as male infertility and mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Achieving and maintaining an erection is a complex process that involves a complex interplay of psychological elements as well as processes of the nervous system and the circulatory system. In a normal erection, sexual stimulation or arousal triggers nerves to increase the blood flow in the penis, which enlarges, strengthens, and becomes hard. Normally, the penis will maintain the erection until after ejaculation or when sexual excitement has ended.

Impotence, also called erectile dysfunction or ED, can result from diseases that impede normal circulation to the penis, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, alcoholism, kidney disease, and multiple sclerosis. Impotence can also be due to conditions that interfere with normal nerve impulse transmission to the penis. These include neurologic diseases and some types of spinal cord trauma. Impotence can also be caused or worsened by psychological causes, such as depression, anxiety, guilt, and low self esteem.

Other causes of impotence include testosterone deficiency, obesity, testicular trauma, and some surgical procedures, such as those for prostate cancer or bladder cancer. Certain medications, such as some high blood pressure medications, may also cause impotence in some men.

The primary symptom of impotence is an inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient to complete sexual intercourse at least 25 percent of the time. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of impotence.

Making a diagnosis of impotence begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination and neurological evaluation. It also includes performing blood and urine tests and other tests that check blood flow to the penis. These tests help diagnosis the cause and/or any other conditions, such as diabetes, that may underlie impotence.

A diagnosis of impotence can easily be missed or delayed due to a variety of factors. For more details on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of impotence.

Treatment of impotence varies depending on the specific cause of the condition, a patient's goals, and the individual case. Treatment may include medications, the use of special devices, psychotherapy, sex therapy, addressing underlying causes of the condition, and/or surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of impotence....more »

Impotence: Misdiagnosis

Fear, embarrassment, and shame are key reasons that a diagnosis of impotence can be missed or delayed. In addition, many men do not seek medical care for a diagnosis and treatment because they assume that impotence is a normal part of aging. It is important to understand that impotence is not a natural part of getting older and that it often can be ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Impotence:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Impotence. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Impotence: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Impotence

Home medical tests possibly related to Impotence:

Causes of Types of Impotence:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Impotence:

Impotence: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Impotence, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Impotence Treatments

Although impotence is more common in older and elderly men, it should not be considered a normal part of aging. Impotence can often be treated successfully in men of all ages.

The first step in treating the development of impotence is prevention early in life. Prevention measures include getting regular medical care so that diseases that can cause impotence, such as ...Impotence Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Impotence may include:

Review further information on Impotence Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Impotence

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Impotence may include:

Stories from Users for Impotence

Real-life user stories relating to Impotence:

Message Boards for Impotence

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Impotence or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Impotence:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Impotence. Some of these are listed below :

  • Physical examination
    • Blood pressure
    • Palpate peripheral pulses (to determine if there are abnormalities to the blood supply)
    • Test nerve function by testing reflexes and sensation
    • Genital examination looking for evidence Peyronie's disease and checking size, shape and consistency of the testicles and penis
    • Digital rectal examination to assess prostate size, consistency and tenderness
  • more tests...»

Medications or substances causing Impotence:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Impotence as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Impotence: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Impotence may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Impotence

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Impotence:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Impotence. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Impotence Assessment Questionnaire (21 listings)

Impotence: Deaths

Read more about causes and Impotence deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Impotence

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, it can more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, which is more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years, more »

Impotence: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Impotence

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Impotence:

Impotence: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Impotence: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Impotence listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Impotence as a symptom include:

Article Excerpts about Impotence

Impotence is a consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient ... (Source: excerpt from Impotence: NIDDK)

Definitions of Impotence:

The inability to perform sexual intercourse.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

An inability (usually of a male) to copulate
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Inability to perform sexual intercourse.
- (Source - CRISP)

In medicine, refers to the inability to have an erection of the penis adequate for sexual intercourse. Also called erectile dysfunction.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)

Organs affected by Impotence:

The list of organs typically affected by Impotence may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Impotence

The list below shows some of the causes of Impotence mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Impotence?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Impotence. Of the 203 causes of Impotence that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 7 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 7 causes are "common" diseases
  • 5 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 8 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 192 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Impotence:

The following list of conditions have 'Impotence' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Impotence or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W

















Conditions listing medical complications: Impotence:

The following list of medical conditions have Impotence or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.








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Causes of Impotence Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Impotence based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Impotence?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Impotence, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    What are the alternative names for Impotence:

    Erectile dysfunction
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Impotence:

    Subtypes of Impotence:

    Erectile dysfunction (112 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Impotence:

    Intercourse symptoms (258 causes), Male sexual symptoms (471 causes), Penis symptoms (346 causes), Sexual symptoms (1838 causes), Genital symptoms (986 causes), Sexual intercourse symptoms (258 causes), Libido symptoms (122 causes), Male genital symptoms (427 causes), Fertility symptoms (370 causes), Women's health symptoms (1177 causes), Mens health symptoms (291 causes), Male reproductive symptoms (577 causes)

    Symptoms related to Impotence:

    Erectile disorders, Penis symptoms (346 causes), Sexual symptoms (1838 causes), Kidney disease, Alcoholism, Liver disease, Hormonal abnormalities, Testosterone deficiency, Testicle disorder, Pituitary disorder

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Impotence

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Impotence and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Impotence:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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