Erectile dysfunction is a common problem in men of all ages. The real prevalence is unknown but best estimates show that it affects at least 1 in 5 men over the age of 40 years, increasing to about two in three men over the age of 70 years. Also known as impotence, there are many risk factors for erectile dysfunction including physical and/or psychological problems. Erectile dysfunction maybe an early warning for life-threatening health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, depression or relationship issues. Patients who have had pelvic surgery and/or radiotherapy for prostate, bladder and colorectal malignancies may suffer from erectile dysfunction as a result of their treatment.
Sex is a normal and important part of life and many relationships. Therefore, it is important to seek help if erectile dysfunction is affecting your health or relationship. It is important that men with erectile dysfunction see their local doctor for advice and treatment. There are now oral medications, vacuum devices and penile injections to help men treat their erectile dysfunction. For most men with erectile dysfunction these treatments will improve erections and allow intercourse to take place. For men, who are not responding to the above treatment, he can be referred to his urologist to discuss penile prosthesis. Erectile dysfunction affects most men psychologically. Even if the cause of the problem is a purely physical one, gaining some support is an important part of treatment.