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Medical Conditions: Erectile Dysfunction

This is a condition in which a man cannot get or sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. It is a fairly common problem, the frequency of which increases with age. It may be caused by mental and/ or physical problems, such as depression or anxiety, or problems with the blood flow to the penis. Other causes include:

  • conditions of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • hormonal imbalances
  • trauma to the pelvis due to injury or surgery
  • smoking or abusing alcohol
  • medications
The most common prevention of erectile dysfunction is to reduce the risks, e.g. use alternative medication, stop smoking etc. To treat this condition, however, there are both surgical and non-surgical methods. Non-surgical methods range from sex therapy to using medications such as Viagra or using vacuum pumps to draw blood into the penis. Surgical methods include implanting an inflatable penile prosthesis to gain and maintain an erection, or vascular reconstructive surgery, to improve blood flow to the penis, though this method is rarely used. Each treatment has its own advantages and drawbacks, so they should be discussed with a doctor before choosing an appropriate method of treatment.

Division of Urology American University of Beirut Medical Center Department of Surgery