When a male is sexually stimulated, signals are transmitted from the brain that cause blood
to rush into the penis creating an erection. Erectile dysfunction (ED), better known as impotence, is the inability to achieve and / or manage an erection. The causes of ED are many and varied, including, but not limited to, spinal cord injury
and axiomatic brain injury (stroke
). The penis may not work properly when the nerves that carry signals to and from the penis are damaged.
Despite the widespread public perception that ED is an "old man's disease," the condition is not a normal part of the aging process. While it is true that ED affects older men more so than younger, this is simply due to the fact that older men tend to have more health problems that can impact on male potency.
, such as antidepressants
and those used to treat diabetes
, list ED as a common side effect. In fact, diabetes itself tends to degenerate vascular function (blood vessel health), impeding blood flow to the penis and causing poor erection control. Heavy smokers
also experience problems achieving and maintaining erections.
Over the years, many treatments have been devised to treat ED, including the "pump," which forces blood into the penis, Caverject and Edex shots, penile implants, and the latest innovation, Viagra. While many of these products are useful in treating ED, they also may cause severe and dangerous side effects.
In July 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about illegal erectile drugs sold online because of undeclared ingredients that have not been approved by the drug agency. The drugs, Zimaxx, Libidus, Neophase, Nasutra, Vigor-25, Actra-Rx and 4EVERON, may pose a threat to consumers because their ingredients may interact with nitrates found in prescription drugs and lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.
View sub-topics below to learn more about some specific drugs used to treat ED and some of the drugs' more serious adverse side effects.
- Cialis / Tadalafil
- Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drugs: Overview
- Levitra / Vardenafil
- Uprima / Apomorphine
- Viagra / Sildenafil Citrate
- ViraMax: Overview