The Most Common Causes Of Male Impotence

By Tiffany Tseng. May 7th 2016

Male impotence, sometimes referred to as erectile dysfunction, is defined as the inability of the penis to stay erect long enough to have sexual intercourse. Although it may be common for men to suffer from male impotence from time to time, prolonged and repeated cases may cause psychological issues, problems in relationships, and the inability to get a female partner pregnant. It would be best to talk to a doctor about the issue, for sometimes impotence can be an indicator of other underlying medical conditions that require treatment. Sometimes, it is due to other factors that can be easily solved by employing a few communication tactics.

Underlying Or Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Many times, male impotence may signify the presence of other physical conditions. Since adequate blood flow to the penis is required for penile erection, vascular diseases are often the culprit of male impotence. Damage to the nerves that play a role in penile erection can also lead to erectile dysfunction. Perhaps the two more common causes of male impotence in terms of medical conditions are:

  • Cardiovascular-related diseases: including heart disease, hardened blood vessels (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure (hypertension) and even high cholesterol, can impede blood flow to the penis.
  • Diabetes mellitus: small blood vessels and nerves tend to become damaged in individuals seriously affected with diabetes. As a result, erectile dysfunction is often a side effect, due to both nervous and vascular reasons.

Other medical conditions that also contribute to erectile dysfunction include:

  • Obesity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Low testosterone or hormone-related conditions
  • Peyronie’s disease (signified by growth of scar tissues inside the penis)
  • Kidney disease
  • Neurological and/or brain diseases
  • Prostate problems
  • Other injuries on the spinal cord or pelvic area

Lifestyle Choices

Bad habits can also be a common cause for male impotence in the long run. If you practice any of the habits below, it may be wise to discard those lifestyle choices to prevent an elevated risk for erectile dysfunction.

  • Smoking: Since tobacco use affects blood vessels by restricting blood flow, regular chain smokers may experience more frequent episodes of erectile dysfunction than non-smokers.
  • Excessive alcohol use: Alcohol abuse can lead to altered sexual responses and cause male impotence. Research has shown that most men tend to have a difficult time achieving penile erection after a heavy drinking session.
  • Substance abuse: Recreational drug use can cause long-term problems associated with male impotence due to neurological interaction and suppression that plays a role in penile erection. Be sure to quit use of such illicit drugs as soon as possible, for sometimes the effects can become irreversible. Some of such drugs that can cause male impotence include:
    • Amphetamines
    • Barbiturates
    • Cocaine
    • Marijuana
    • Methadone
    • Opiates

Treatment Side Effects

Medical treatment for conditions can come in many ways, depending on the condition. Some forms of treatments that may cause erectile dysfunction include:

  • Extensive radiation
  • Treatments for cancer
  • Prostate medication and/or therapy
  • Surgeries involving the pelvic area
  • Surgeries involving the spinal cord or nerves associated with penile erection

Drug and medication therapies used to treat other conditions can also have male impotence as a side effect. For example, hormone therapies may alter the amount of testosterone produced by the body. Other medications may impede nervous stimulation or blood circulation. You may want to talk to your doctor for other forms of medicine therapy if you are experiencing erectile dysfunction and it is impacting your life. These types of medications include:

  • Diuretics
  • Antihypertensives
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Parkinson’s disease drugs
  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Tranquilizers
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Histamine H2-receptor antagonists
  • Hormones
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Prostate cancer drugs
  • Anti-seizure medications

Other than physical reasons, mental or psychological factors can also cause male impotence. They include, but are not limited to:


Stress of all types, from work, school, relationships or personal life can put a damper on penile functions. Anxiety, pressure to perform, or guilt of not satisfying one’s partner also causes erectile dysfunction related to stress.

Poor Communication With Partner

Communication is key in every relationship. Not only can good communication relieve stress, anxiety and pressure related to male impotence, it can also increase sexual satisfaction between both partners. Low sexual self-esteem, negative perception towards the act of sex, or negative reinforcement feedback from a partner may psychologically cause male impotence. If there are communication problems, group counseling or therapy may be an option to solve the problem.

Other Mental Health Conditions

Other mental or psychological conditions, such as serious depression, may play a role in erectile dysfunction. Be sure to seek professional therapy or counseling help, for some of such conditions may have even more adverse effects than impotence.


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