Causes of Impotence

Content provided by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School

Welcome to this Decision Guide on Causes of Impotence.

Impotence is when a man has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. Impotence is also known as erectile dysfunction, or ED. Recent studies show that impotence is a much more common problem than once believed. Many younger men may experience difficulty with erections, and as many as two-thirds of men will develop impotence at some point in their lives.

Recent studies are also changing our notion about why men develop impotence. While it was once believed that psychological problems were the main cause, we now understand that medical factors -- such as poor blood flow, nerve damage, and medication side effects -- play an important role in most cases of impotence.

This guide is intended to help you understand why you may be experiencing impotence. Keep in mind that you should be evaluated by a health care professional if you have persistent symptoms. Our goal is to provide useful information while you are awaiting further evaluation, or add to what you may have already learned at your visit with a doctor. Remember that this guide cannot substitute for an individual evaluation by your health care provider.

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Medical Reviewer: Faculty of Harvard Medical School Last Annual Review Date: 2006-05-25T00:00:00-06:00


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