Erectile Dysfunction Q&A

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is failure to have or maintain an erection. Although distressing, occasional difficulties are normal and can be caused by factors such as stress, tiredness, anxiety, or alcohol; however, there may be a physical cause in some cases. If erection problems occur frequently, you should consult your doctor. Safe and effective treatments for ED are available.

  • Are you interested in sex?

    • Yes

      How often do you fail to achieve or maintain an erection?

      • Only occasionally
        • Possible cause Most men have this experience from time to time. Occasional erection problems are most likely to be due to anxiety – for example, at the beginning of a new sexual relationship – or to factors such as tiredness or too much alcohol to drink (see Erectile dysfunction).

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor if you are concerned about problems with your sexual performance.

      • Frequently

        Do you wake with an erection or get an erection by masturbating?

        • Sometimes
          • Possible cause Anxiety about your sexual performance is the most likely reason for your problem (see Erectile dysfunction). A physical cause is unlikely.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Rarely or never

          Are you currently taking any medication, complementary remedies, or recreational drugs?

          • Yes
            • Possible cause Some medications, such as antidepressant drugs and antihypertensive drugs, complementary remedies, and recreational drugs can affect sexual performance.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor. Continue to take prescribed medication but stop taking any other medications, complementary remedies, or recreational drugs.

          • No
    • No
      • Possible cause Lack of interest in sex is likely to reduce your ability to achieve an erection (see Decreased sex drive).

        Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.


Nonmedical advice

Treatment from a nonmedical source could delay an important diagnosis being made or even result in more serious problems. It is important that you consult a doctor, who can rule out any medical cause of your erection problems, before having any form of treatment.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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