Impotence or Erectile Dysfunction is a consistent inability to either attain or sustain an erection, which is sufficient for sexual intercourse. Impotence is different from other problems that interfere with sexual intercourse, for e.g. Lack of desire or difficulties with ejaculation or orgasm.It roughly affects about 15-20 million Americans in the age group of 40-50.

How do men get an Erection?

The Penis contains two chambers, made of spongy tissue, which run the length of the penis. This tissue contsists of smooth muscles, fibrous tissue, spaces, Veins and arteries. These chambers (called corpora cavernosa) are surrounded by a membrane. The Urethra, which is a common passage for urine and Semen, runs along the underside of this chamber.

When stimuli from the brain and other local nerves causes the smooth muscles of the chambers to relax blood flows in to flood the open spaces and gets trapped, creating a pressure in the chambers hardening the penis.When these muscles contract, blood trapped is allowed to low out, relaxing the penis.

Causes of Impotency :

To achieve and sustain an Erection, all events described above must happen in a sequence. If any of them is skipped, erection may not occur or may not be sustained. The brain must generate nerve impulses that are transmitted via spinal cord down to the penis. As a response to these impulses muscles, fibrous tissues, veins and arteries in and around the corpora cavernosa are filled with blood.

The most common cause of impotence is damage to the fibrous tissues, veins, arteries smooth muscles etc. Many diseases can cause this damage. Amongst these, the most common are:

1. Atherosclerosis

2. Diabetes

3. Chronic smoking or Tobacco

4. Alcoholism

5. Multiple Sclerosis, an Auto Immune Disease

6. Kidney Ailments

7. Psychological Disorders – Stress, Depression, Performance Pressure

8. Long Term Use of certain Drugs – Long term use of certain antihistamines, anti depressants,drugs for treating high blood pressure, antidepressants, tranquilizers, appetite suppressants, antacids may result in impotence.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries and vascular diseases generally responsible for about 65 – 70% of cases of impotence.Almost 35 – 50% of men suffering from diabetes, develop impotence.

A study in the recent past found that the Erectile Dysfunction to also be associated with bicycling. The number of hours on a bike put pressure on the penis from the saddle of an upright bicycle.

Injury to the spinal cord, bladder, prostate, pelvis or penis can cause impotence by damage to the nerves, smooth muscle arteries and fibrous tissues of the corpora cavernosa. Also the surgery in pelvic area can damage nerves or blood vessels, results in impotence.

About 30 – 35% of the cases of impotence are because of psychological reasons. These includes depression, anxiety, stress, guilt, fear of being caught, fear of failure, lack of correct sex knowledge, myths and misconceptions regarding sex. These factors are generally associated with more than 80% of the cases of Impotence.

A better and simple way to isolate between physiological and psychological impotence is to check if the patient ever had an erection. If it is more then it is likely to be psychological while less means physiological.

Home Remedies and Dietary Recommendations that are effective in Impotence :

There are natural Remedies for ED as well which can be recommended for a treatment without much side-effect.

L-arginine is an amino acid that is abundant in meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. The body uses arginine to make nitric oxide, which aids in relaxing the blood vessels. It should however be taken only in moderation as high intake will be responsible for increase in stomach acid and consequently ulcer.

Ashwagandha or “Indian Ginseng” is a tonic herb believed to be capable of strengthening the body and more traditionally used to increase the sexual capacity as an aphrodisiac.

Damiana used traditionally in Mexico as a male aphrodisiac. It has a mild effect.

Siberian ginseng is believed to be an aphrodisiac which affects the system of the body that is in need of support. It is considered one of the superior remedies for impotence.

Traditionally Chinese practitioners used lyceum berries and lotus seeds to help cure impotence while enhancing kidney and liver energy.

Saw Palmetto is used to treat Erectile Dysfunction, especially when mixed with other herbs. It basically reduces the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.

The bark from a Yohimbe tree found in West Africa is a traditional aphrodisiac and also forms the source of yohimbine, a prescription drug for Erectile Dysfunction. It increases the libido as well as decreases the period between ejaculations. This is not recommended because of the dosage range. Too high a dose of this herb may be toxic and too low a dose may have no effect. They should hence be taken with caution.

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