Erectile dysfunction - impotence

Impotence is the inability to achieve or maintain adequate erection of the penis to conduct intercourse.

Previously, it was thought that impaired sexual function is a normal part of aging. Changing attitudes in the population and modern medicine have rejected this myth.

  • Symptoms

    Inability to achieve or maintain adequate erection of the penis to be able to have intercourse with ejaculation. The diagnosis requires that the symptom appear in at least 25 percent of the situations where an erection is desirable before it is defined as a medical problem. The condition leads in many cases to significant negative effects on self-esteem and partner relationships.

    The most common cause of the ailments is mental conditions. Examples of this can be:

    • Previous bad sexual experience
    • Depression
    • Performance anxiety

    If the morning erection is normal, and you usually get an erection and orgasm through masturbation, this is an important signal that can separate mental causes from physical illness.
    Erectile dysfunction affects 5% of all 40-year-olds, 10% of 50-year-olds and 20-25% of those over 65 years of age. In men with diabetes, between 30 percent and 50 percent have erection problems.

    Factors that suggest mental cause:

    • Sudden start of the problem
    • Short-term erection
    • Good quality or better experience of spontaneous, self-stimulated - or morning erection
    • Premature or missing ejaculation
    • Problems or changes in the relationship with the partner
    • Important life events or psychological problems

    Factors that may indicate physical cause:

    • Gradually increasing problem
    • Lack of nocturnal erections
    • Normal ejaculation
    • Normal sex drive (libido)
    • Physical diseases such as diabetes, neurological disease or cardiovascular disease
    • Operations, radiation or injuries to the abdomen
    • Use of medication
    • Smoking, high alcohol consumption, drug use
  • What can I do myself?

    There are several things you can do yourself to improve the situation:

    • Reduce tobacco and alcohol use
    • Increased knowledge of the condition
    • Conversational therapy, possibly with the partner, can be useful when mental conditions are the cause of erectile dysfunction
  • What can Eyr help with?
    • Eyr can help assess whether the condition is due to mental or physical cause
    • Eyr can prescribe relevant medications
    • Eyr can refer to a specialist when needed
    • Eyr can follow up and provide a support call

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Reference: Norwegian Medical Handbook, NEL. Edited and medically quality assured by Dr. Theresa Franck, specialist in general medicine.