What is impotence?

What is impotence?

Impotence is the term used to describe a man’s inability to get or maintain a proper erection suitable for sexual intercourse. It’s an old-fashioned term with all sorts of connotations, so these days most doctors prefer to talk about erectile dysfunction, or ED for short. Medically, ED and impotence mean exactly the same thing.

The problem of failing to get an erection can be devastating, affecting many aspects of a man’s life. All too often, men are too embarrassed to seek help and so they suffer in silence or become so worried it makes their problem worse. ED doesn’t mean you are less manly. There may be a perfectly simple explanation. ED is quite a common problem, and most men can be helped in one way or another. The following information will help to dispel some of the myths surrounding ED. It will also suggest how you can begin to overcome it. Recognising that you have a problem is the first and most important step to take.

How common is erectile dysfunction?

I thought I was alone – but now I realise this is a very common problem.

It’s a lot more common than most people think. Although most men suffer from ED at some time in their lives, few talk about it. Only a minority of men actually seek medical help. Although it is more common in older men, it can affect anyone. It is difficult to say exactly how many men suffer from ED. The table below gives you an idea.

  • Under 40 years oldabout 1 in 12 men
  • 40 – 65 years oldabout 1 in 5 men
  • Over 65 years oldabout 1 in 2 men

This means that about 2 million men in the UK have an on-going problem. Other medical conditions can be to blame. For example, 1 in 2 men with diabetes is likely to suffer from ED at some time in his life.