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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Impotence is a condition in which a man is unable to achieve an erection or sustain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. Erection problems are common and may have a physical and/or psychological basis. Transient impotence may be caused by mild anxiety, depression, or stress. Chronic impotence may be due to such factors as aging, medications, chronic disease, diabetes, alcoholism, or drug addiction. Psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, guilt, stress, or unresolved anger can also lead to chronic impotence. If you are able to have erections upon waking or with masturbation, but not with other sexual activity, your impotence may have psychological causes. Diagnosis of impotence begins with a thorough history, physical examination, and lab tests. There are many treatment options ranging from medications and external devices to surgical treatments. Most men experience sexual dysfunction at some time in their lives, although they are reluctant to talk about it or seek help. If you are consistently unable to have an erection or are experiencing other sexual problems, discuss them with a physician or urologist.

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