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Impotence In Men: Five Reasons That You Should Know

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 10 January 2023

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Men often fail to acknowledge and discuss their health issues out loud in public, even when it gets serious, due to fear of societal judgement. One such issue is impotence, which is characterised by the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. This can have a profound impact on a man's mental and emotional well-being. Though impotence is common and can occur at any age, high stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive drinking increases the risk. Let us know more about the reasons and ways to treat impotence in men.

Five Common Causes of Impotency in men

1. High cholesterol: An erection happens when soft tissues in your penis called corpus cavernosa get filled with blood. High blood cholesterol causes your arteries to clog up (atherosclerosis), restricting blood flow to your penis. So a lack of blood flow can result in erectile dysfunction.

2. High blood pressure: Hypertension damages the lining of blood vessels, causing arteries to narrow and harden. This reduces blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection. Moreover, the intake of anti-hypertensive medicines such as beta-blockers or diuretics can also reduce blood flow to the penis.

3. Diabetes: High blood sugar can damage blood vessels and important nerves that connect to your penis. This can result in a loss of feeling in the extremities and can eventually make it difficult to get an erection.

4. Obesity: Obesity can cause hormonal imbalance, leading to a decrease in insulin and testosterone levels. Testosterone is the quintessential male hormone that is necessary for a healthy sex drive. A low testosterone level can lead to impotency or infertility in men.

5. Smoking: Besides increasing the risk for cancers, smoking is harmful to your reproductive health. Smoking can constrict arteries and increase blood pressure, which increases the risk of erectile dysfunction.

Apart from these, other causes of impotence in men include:

  • Penis or spinal injury
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Alcoholism
  • Sleep disorders
  • Prostate cancer
  • Stress
  • Anxiety & depression

You may also experience impotence due to a combination of physical and psychological factors. So, if you feel you are unable to enjoy a satisfying sex life or achieve an erection during masturbation, contact your doctor at the earliest.

How to Treat Impotence in Men?

If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, it is highly recommended that you consult a medical professional. Impotence in men is treated depending upon the cause. Commonly prescribed treatments include:

  • Oral medications like sildenafil and tadalafil
  • Hormonal medications like alprostadil injections
  • Using mechanical devices such as a vacuum pump
  • Psychological treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Surgery

Note: One should not take any of the medications mentioned above without consulting a doctor as they can result in side effects like headaches, and heart or liver problems.

Most healthcare professionals treating impotence in men also encourage a healthy lifestyle and recommend:

  • Quitting or reducing smoking
  • Limiting or avoiding drinking alcohol
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing stress


1. Is impotence curable?

Impotence is curable if treated promptly and appropriately. Proper treatment can help you regain a healthy sexual life.

2. Can impotent men have children?

Impotence and infertility are two different issues. Men with erectile dysfunction are not necessarily infertile. Unless there are severe issues with sperm parameters, impotent men can father children.

3. Can impotence occur suddenly in men?

In most cases, impotence issues usually develop slowly over a period of time. Usually, long term high-stress levels, hypertension or high levels of lipids in the blood eventually lead to erectile dysfunction. The only case where impotence can suddenly happen is due to penile or neural damage from an injury or toxin.

4. At what age do impotency issues in men start?

While impotency-related issues can occur at any age, most of them begin after the age of 40.

5. Does masturbation cause infertility in men?

No, masturbation does not reduce fertility or cause impotence. In fact, masturbation has various health benefits like lowering the risk of prostate cancer, reducing stress, and improving mood.

It is important to acknowledge the signs of infertility in men and seek prompt medical care if you are struggling with any such condition.

Consult An Apollo Urologist


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.


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