WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

NHS Choices Condition

Content supplied by NHS Choices

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get and maintain an erection that is sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse. ED is also known as impotence.

How common is erectile dysfunction?

ED is a very common condition, particularly in older men. It is estimated that half of all men between 40 and 70 years of age will experience ED at least once.

ED can have a range of causes, both physical and psychological. Possible physical causes include:

  • heart disease,
  • diabetes,
  • high blood pressure (hypertension), and
  • hormonal problems.

Possible psychological causes of ED include:

  • stress,
  • anxiety,
  • depression, and
  • relationship problems.

Prognosis

Many men will experience episodes of ED that improve without the need for treatment. Sometimes, persistent ED can be the result of a more serious underlying health condition, such as heart disease. In such cases, treatment will be needed to treat the underlying condition.

Other causes include head injury, which can result in low levels of production of the hormone testosterone. Treatment of testosterone can treat ED when it is caused by head injury.

Generally, the prognosis for ED is good. Some men will just need to make some lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and taking regular exercise. Other men may need to take medication such as sildenafil (known as Viagra).

view information about Erectile Dysfunction on www.nhs.co.uk »

Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here