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Erectile dysfunction (impotence)

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem where a man finds it hard to get or keep an erection.

The main symptom of erectile dysfunction is not being able to get or keep an erection.

Treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on the cause. Treatments include medicines, vacuum pumps, healthy lifestyle changes and talking therapy.

Erectile dysfunction is often linked to things like stress, tiredness or alcohol. It can also be caused by physical or emotional problems.

Read more on the NHS website.

The main symptom of erectile dysfunction is not being able to get or keep an erection.

Read more on the NHS website.

Treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on the cause. Treatments include medicines, vacuum pumps, healthy lifestyle changes and talking therapy.

Medical treatments

Treatments for erectile dysfunction are much better than they used to be, and the problem often goes away.

There are specific treatments for some of the causes of erectile dysfunction.

Possible cause: Narrowing of penis blood vessels, high blood pressure, high cholesterol
Treatment: Medicine to lower blood pressure, statins to lower cholesterol

Possible cause: Hormone problems
Treatment: Hormone replacement (for example, testosterone)

Possible cause: Side effects of prescribed medication
Treatment: Change to medicine after discussion with GP

Medicine such as sildenafil (sold as Viagra) is also often used by doctors to treat erectile dysfunction. It's also available from chemists.

Because of changes in regulations, you no longer need a prescription to get sildenafil.

But you'll have to have a consultation with the pharmacist to make sure it's safe for you to take it.

There are other similar medicines called tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra) and avanafil (Spedra) that work in a similar way.

You'll still need a prescription to get these medicines.

Self-care

Healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help erectile dysfunction.


Do

  • lose weight if you're overweight
  • stop smoking
  • eat a healthy diet
  • exercise daily
  • try to reduce stress and anxiety

Don't

  • do not cycle for a while (if you cycle for more than 3 hours a week)
  • do not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week

Read more on the NHS website.

Erectile dysfunction is often linked to things like stress, tiredness or alcohol. It can also be caused by physical or emotional problems.

Read more on the NHS website.