Impotence or erectile dysfunction is caused when there is a break in the sequence of events that cause an erection.
An erection occurs when blood passes into the penis along the arteries and into the erectile tissue, which, when full of blood, becomes rigid. The erection is maintained because the veins that normally carry this blood away tighten and so prevent blood from escaping from the erectile tissue. An erection is reversed when the blood flow into the penis is reduced and the blood flowing out of the penis is increased.
Although impotence is treatable in all age groups, and drug treatment is effective in many men, it is important to identify the underlying cause of the condition.
Treatments for impotence include:
Oral drug therapy such as sildenafil (Viagra) or testosterone.
Injected drug therapy: injections are made directly into the erectile tissue of the penis.
Mechanical vacuum devices.
Surgery, either to repair any damage to the penis or to implant an inflatable implant.