Health Guide
Drug Guide


What is it?

Impotence is a repeated problem with getting or keeping an erection (ee-REK-shun) of the penis. Impotence is also called erectile (ee-REK-tile) dysfunction or ED. An erection is when the penis gets hard, stiff, and raised so that sexual intercourse (sex) is possible. Impotence may or may not affect a man's ability to have an orgasm (sexual climax) and release semen. Semen (SEE-men) is the thick white fluid that comes out of the penis during ejaculation (ee-jak-u-LAY-shun). Impotence is a very common problem. It may be a long term condition or it may only occur once in a while. Impotence can often be helped with treatment.

What are the physical causes of impotence? More than one thing may cause impotence. Impotence is most often caused by a physical (body) problem. Physical problems that may cause impotence include:

Can thoughts or emotions cause impotence? Emotional problems are problems with your mood or state of mind. These problems can cause impotence or make it worse, even if the original cause was physical. Sometimes impotence can lead to an emotional problem. For example, anxiety or depression may be caused or worsened by problems with your sex life. Emotional problems that may cause impotence or make it worse include:

Medical Care:

The treatment for impotence depends upon what is causing the problem. Your caregiver may suggest one or more of the following tests or treatments. You may have these tests and treatments in the hospital or caregiver's office.



Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.



Complementary Therapies:

Other ways of treating your symptoms:

Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

Talk to your caregiver if:


Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


1. Aydin S, Ercan M, Caskurlu T et al Acupuncture and hypnotic suggestions in the treatment of non-organic male sexual dysfunction. Scand J Urol Nephrol 1997; 31(3):271-274.

2. Chen J, Wollman Y, Chernichovsky T et al: Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Br J Urol 1999; 83:269-273.

3. Reiter WJ, Pycha A, Schatzl G et al: Dehydroepiandrosterone in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: a prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Urology 1999; 53(3):590-595.

4. Sikora R, Sohn M, Deutz F-J et al: Ginkgo biloba extract in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. J Urol 1989; 141:188A.

5. Ward WO: The hypnotherapeutic treatment of impotence. Va Med 1977; 104(6):389-392.

Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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