Impotence | Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Impotence | Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

There are many causes of impotence, and many are treatable. Let’s have a look at 5 common causes to understand this condition a little better.

Impotence also called erectile dysfunction is a condition in which men can’t maintain an erection long enough to perform sexual intercourse. An estimated 50% of men aged between 40 and 70 will experience impotence at some point in their life. Despite this, it’s a condition that not a lot of men like to talk about, as it can have dire effects on relationships and self-esteem. The causes of impotence can vary, including physical and emotional issues but in many cases, there are treatments available.

Cardiovascular Health Issues

To produce a lasting erection a male’s body needs to have adequate blood flow and for those that suffer conditions that restrict blood flow, impotence can be an ongoing issue. Conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol can all negatively affect blood flow to the penis. In fact, erectile dysfunction can even be an early warning sign of more serious conditions. The blood vessels in the penis are much smaller than those in the rest of the body, so if you experience impotence and are a candidate for poor cardiovascular health, it’s a good idea to contact a general practitioner before symptoms become more serious.

Drugs and Medications

Drugs affect the way the body’s central nervous system works and can interfere with libido and normal blood flow, so in many cases, medications and recreational drugs can cause impotence. Substances such as alcohol, nicotine and recreational drugs are all big factors in erectile dysfunction.

Over the counter, substances are also high candidates, with 8 out of 10 of the most commonly prescribed medications citing impotence as a common side effect. Some of these include antipsychotics, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering medicines, high blood pressure and epilepsy medications.

If you are experiencing impotence as a side effect, the best option is to talk to your doctor about other alternatives.

Neurological and Nerve Disorders

Neurological conditions affect the brain’s communication with the body, including the reproductive system, which may hinder erections. Some of these conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and epilepsy.

Emotional Disorders

Emotional disorders can be a major factor in impotence. To achieve an erection, a male must first go through a state of excited arousal, but this can be affected if people have an emotional disorder.

Fatigue-related to depression as well as feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem can have a major effect on arousal. Anxiety is also another major candidate. Performance anxiety can occur if someone fears they may not be able to achieve an erection and can be more prevalent with new or specific partners. These individuals may otherwise be physically healthy and be able to achieve erection alone, however are unable to maintain one during intercourse.

If you suspect any emotional disorders are causing impotence then the best bet is to talk to a physician who can make recommendations.


Cycling may be a healthy pastime, but research has shown a link between cycling and impotence. The causal factor is that the exercise places pressure on the pudendal artery, which is responsible for supplying blood to the reproductive organs. In fact, any movement or exercise that restricts blood flow in this way may also cause problems. Not all cyclists experience impotence, and it’s likely that those who ride more regularly or for longer periods are more at risk, so before giving up your exercise routine, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Want to book a checkup?

Dr Arianayagam is an expert in the field of urology and is widely considered one of the top urological oncologists in Australia.

If you have any questions about impotence or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to contact or call Dr Arianayagam’s office on 1300 307 990 and his staff will be able to assist.

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