Men with erectile dysfunction, once called impotence, have trouble getting or sustaining an erection long enough to have sex. It's a common condition, affecting as many as 30 million American men. Erectile dysfunction affects older men more than younger men. About 1% of men in their 40s, 17% of men in their 60s, and nearly 50% of men 75 or older aren't able to achieve an erection sufficient for intercourse.
Sometimes erectile dysfunction develops gradually. One night it may take longer or require more stimulation to get an erection. Another time, an erection may not be as firm as usual, or it may end before orgasm. When such difficulties occur regularly, it's time to talk to a doctor.
The culprit behind erectile dysfunction is often clogged arteries. In fact, in nearly one-third of men who see their doctors about trouble getting or keeping an erection, erectile dysfunction is the first hint that they have cardiovascular disease. Other possible causes of erectile dysfunction include medications and prostate surgery, as well as illnesses and accidents. Stress, relationship problems, or depression can also lead to it.
Regardless of the cause, erectile dysfunction often can be effectively treated. For some men, simply losing weight may help. Others may need medications. If these steps aren’t effective, a number of other options, including injections and vacuum devices, are available. Given the variety of options, the possibility of finding the right solution is now greater than ever before.