A problem that many men have but few are willing to talk about is impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction (ED).
As men get older it’s quite normal for changes to happen to their sexual function.
When impotence can become a big problem is when you and your partner are trying to conceive and your body just isn’t able to function the way it needs to.
It’s important to note that there is a difference between infertility and impotence. When you’re infertile, you’re unable to father children.
Impotence means that you’re unable to attain or sustain an erection so that conception is possible.
Talking About Impotence and Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction can make it almost impossible for you and your partner to conceive. ED can be defined as a man’s inability to maintain or achieve an erection.
Studies show what at one time in their lives 25 to 30 million men will have been affected by impotence. Around 10 to 15 percent of ED cases are psychologically related and caused by anxiety, stress, or depression.
Another 70 percent of ED cases are caused by some diseases which inhibit the flow of blood to the penis, such as kidney disease, diabetes, or chronic alcoholism.
There are also some medications that can cause impotence. This includes medication for high blood pressure and some antidepressants. Still another cause of erectile dysfunction is nerve disorders.
Impaired nerve impulses stop communication between the penis and the brain.
Is Impotence Treatable?
There are several different ways that impotence can be treated. The first thing your doctor will do is ask about your medical history to determine if there are any medical conditions that might be a factor in your impotence.
This can include hormonal, neurological, and vascular conditions.
- Hormonal imbalances and a reduced sex drive can often cause impotence.
- Neurological issues can lead to ED. The nerves need to be working correctly in order for you to get an erection and maintain one. The nerves can be damaged if there is an injury to the spinal cord as well as if you have multiple sclerosis.
- Vascular conditions can affect your entire body. Vascular disease is often evident in men who have had a stroke or have a history of heart disease.
Your doctor will most likely order some blood tests to check your cholesterol, blood sugar, and hormone levels.
It’s important that your general health is thoroughly checked to correctly diagnosis the cause of your erectile dysfunction.
Be prepared for your doctor to ask you about your sex life. This will be particularly important if you and your partner are trying to get pregnant.
If it’s the medication that is causing ED, you may need to switch to a different medication.
Is There Medication for Impotence and Erectile Dysfunction?
There are some drugs that are frequently used to treat impotence. The most common are a group of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5).
You’ll find them under the names of Viagra and Levitra. While PDE5 drugs will work for most men, men whose impotence is caused by neurological damage may find them ineffective.
Another drug called Alprostadil may also be prescribed to increase blood flow to the penis and cause an erection. The drug is taken either as a suppository or an injection.
If your impotence continues to be a factor in getting pregnant you may need to look at other infertility treatments for you and your partner.
The Psychology Behind Impotence
If there are no physical reasons for your impotence it may be time to look at the psychological reasoning behind your inability to maintain or sustain an erection.
Sexual problems can be caused by depression, anxiety, or stress. Even fear can play a role in impotence. Talk to your partner and your doctor about the feelings and emotions you’re going through at this time.
Some men feel that if there is a physical reason for their impotence that this is acceptable. If there’s a psychological reason, most men are reluctant to deal with the issues that might be behind their ED.
Having “performance anxiety” can make matters work and continue to decrease your fertility.
Can you Prevent Impotence?
There are some things that you can do to decrease your risk of developing ED and decrease your risk of impotence related infertility.
You want to keep all the blood vessels in your body healthy so it’s important to eat right and exercise. Start by changing your lifestyle so that you focus on good health.
Maintaining normal levels of cholesterol and normal blood pressure are crucial to living a healthy life. If you’re a smoker, this is a good time to quit.
If you need to take any kind of medication make sure that you talk to your doctor first and let them know that you’re trying to conceive.
There are many medications that can decrease your fertility. Decreasing the risk is the first step in avoiding impotence problems that can lead to infertility.