Impotence

Etiology: Weakness, especially inability of the male to achieve or maintain erection.

This may include: anatomic impotency (caused by a defect in the genitalia); atonic impotency (resulting from paralysis of nervi erigentes, which convey impulses bringing about erection); functional impotency (due to an organic or anatomical defect); organic impotency (anatomic); psychic impotency (due to mental disturbance); or symptomatic impotency (due to poor health, drugs, or presence of disease). The inability to achieve or maintain an erection, premature ejaculation, and the ability to ejaculate makes it impossible for the male to impregnate the ovum of the female.

CAUSES: As stated above, may be psychological or organic in nature. Some organic causes include low sperm count; peripheral vascular disease; diabetes; use of some medications, alcohol, or cigarettes; psychological factors; and having had the mumps as an adult. There are many other causes of impotence. A qualified doctor is needed in most cases.

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Keep in mind that sexual function changes with age. An older man may require more stimulation and a longer period of time to experience an erection.

Alcohol intake decreases the body’s ability to produce testosterone. Alcohol also sets the stage for a heart attack. Arteriosclerotic disease of the blood vessels, which restricts blood supply to the penis and to the nerves that otherwise would lead to sexual arousal, may result in impotence.

A common cause of impotence is the use of antihypertensive and tranquilizer drugs. The use of marijuana and cocaine, heavy smoking damages the tiny blood vessels that supply blood to the penis.

The drugs Tagamet and Zantac (both taken for indigestion or ulcers) have significant side effects in some men. They may decrease sperm count and even produce impotency.

The drug papaverine is used either alone or in combination with phentolamine to dilate the penile blood vessels, causing increased blood flow to the erectile tissue. (Effective for both psychological and physiological impotence)

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