While the prevalence of impotence is unknown in some countries, a study conducted in China reveals that more than half of Chinese men over 40 years old suffer from erection difficulty. However, experts estimate that over 40 per cent of African men in the same age bracket also suffer from the problem medically known as erectile dysfunction or (ED).
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to attain and/or maintain penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. It affects approximately one third of men and its prevalence increases with age. Whether due to organic, psychological or mixed causes, ED impairs self-esteem and decreases the quality of life and intimate relationships.
Erection Difficulty Research
In a study carried out in a broad population of men with erectile dysfunction, which was published in the journal European Urology, erectile dysfunction drugs have been shown to have significant clinical efficacy in improving ED and also demonstrated a low incidence of adverse effects.
92 per cent of the men who were put on the erectile dysfunction drug reported improved erections and 89 per cent of these achieved successful penetration while 78 per cent maintained an erection sufficient enough to have successful intercourse, regardless of the dose used. While a higher dose may improve erection strength and firmness, almost 100 per cent of the men who chose to remain on 10 mg during the 10-week study reported improved erections, indicating that they were receiving their optimum dose level. In patients who increased their dose from 10 to 20 mg, at week 6, positive responses improved from 82 to 97 per cent.
Erection Difficulty Causes
There are many underlying physical and psychological causes of erectile dysfunction. Reduced blood flow to the penis and nerve damage are the most common physical causes. Underlying conditions associated with erectile dysfunction include the following: Vascular disease; diabetes; drugs; hormone disorders; neurologic conditions and psychological conditions.
Diabetes and erection problems
Diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes mellitus, is one of the commonest causes of ED but the study found that the drug improves erectile function in patients suffering from this disease. It also found that there was some improvements in people who had their prostate glands removed by surgery.
Blood vessel problems
Arteriosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of the arteries, causes a reduction in blood flow throughout the body and can lead to impotence. It is associated with age and accounts for 50 per cent to 60 per cent of impotence in men over 60. Smoking is perhaps the most significant risk factor for impotence related to arteriosclerosis.
It is now known that over 200 commonly prescribed drugs cause or contribute to impotence, including drugs for high blood pressure, heart medications, antidepressants, tranquilizers, and sedatives. Additionally, long-term use of alcohol and illicit drugs may affect the vascular and nervous systems and are associated with erectile dysfunction.
Psychological conditions such as depression, guilt, worry, stress, and anxiety all contribute to loss of libido and erectile dysfunction.
If a man experiences loss of erection, he may worry that it will happen again. This can produce anxiety associated with performance and may lead to chronic problems during sex. If the cycle is inescapable, it can result in impotence.