Harvard Men's Health Watch

Not satisfied with your sex life?

ed-mens-health-sex-life-erectile-dysfunction
Image: Thinkstock

Erectile dysfunction is common, but it's not always the problem. A doctor can help you get to the bottom of it.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is difficulty either getting or maintaining an erection firm and lasting enough for a satisfying sexual encounter. The most common cause is inadequate blood supply to the spongy tissues in the penis that provide rigidity. That's a straightforward "plumbing problem" that can usually be treated with medication. But there are other possible causes, too.

To get an accurate diagnosis, be prepared for some awkward questions. "You have to get into the fine details of the sexual act, and many men are uncomfortable discussing it," says Dr. Louis Liou, chief of urology at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston.

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