Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, is the loss of a man’s ability to obtain an erection sufficient to achieve or maintain sexual intercourse. The severity of the erection problem may range from being incapable of a full erection only some of the time, to being incapable most or all of the time. Impotence also refers to a man’s inability to sustain an erection even if he is able to have one. It is estimated that about 15% of men, by the time they are 70 years old, experience consistent and serious erectile dysfunction and at least half have partial difficulty.
Impotence is often due to a combination of physical and I psychological factors. As a general rule, if the onset of impotence is sudden and the problem is intermittent, the major factor is probably psychological, such as recent retirement or some other stressful life event. If the onset is slow — over a period of a few months — and the problem is chronic and persistent, there are likely to be important physical factors. Major physical conditions that may cause impotence include diabetes mellitus, arteriosclerosis, hypertension and side effects from medications (antihypertensive agents, tranquillizers, antidepressants, alcohol, etc.).
Can impotence be treated ?
Ideally, the assessment and treatment of erectile dysfunction should be multidisciplinary, potentially involving the relevant expertise of the general practitioner, urologist, psychiatrist, sex therapist, endocrinologist and cardiologist. Any evaluation and treatment should take into account both the patient and his partner.
To save both time and money, initial treatment efforts should focus on adjusting the dosage or changing the type of medication being taken, that is associated with impotence. This should be discussed with your doctor.
Modifying your lifestyle, including improving your diet, not smoking, reducing alcohol intake, losing weight and exercising are also helpful. Steps should be taken to decrease the level of stress and to resolve any relationship conflicts with your partner.
Effective medical treatments for erectile dysfunction are oral medication, transurethral medication, infra-penile injections, vacuum penile pumps or (rarely) surgery. Adequate attention to emotional and relationship aspects are often vital to the success of these treatments.
How does Viagra improve impotence ? How is it taken ?
Viagra — or sildenafil, its chemical name — is the first approved oral medication for treating erectile dysfunction. It works by preventing the breakdown of a chemical in the penis, thus enhancing and maintaining penile responses to sexual stimulation. In studies of men with impotence from a variety of causes, Viagra was effective about two-thirds of the time (compared with a 22% success rate with a placebo).
Viagra, however, will not work without sexual desire and stimulation; nor will it make normal erections harder or last longer. Certainly it will not rescue troubled marriages and relationships.
The recommended starting dose of Viagra is 50 mg, taken approximately one hour before sexual activity. The maximum recommended dosage is 100 mg and the maximum recommended frequency is once a day. In Singapore, the guideline doctors adhere to is 12 doses per month per patient.
What are the side effects of Viagra ?
Viagra should be prescribed by a physician after careful evaluation of your sexual and medical history. This is because Viagra can cause side effects, some of which may be potentially serious.
The common side effects are usually mild, including headaches or visual problems (blurring or, sometimes, seeing objects in shades of blue). Dizziness or blackouts may occur due to sudden drops in blood pressure, especially for those taking antihypertensive medications.
Heart disease is common in the elderly. Men with coronary problems who may not have had sex for many years should consult their doctor before putting two much strain on a weak heart. Nitrates are a common type of medication prescribed for heart patients — taking Viagra together with nitrates can be fatal.
Side effects of taking Viagra include headaches, blurred vision, seeing objects in shades of blue, dizziness and blackouts. Do note that taking Viagra with certain medications is fatal. It is highly advisable to consult doctor before consuming the product.