The term ‘erectile dysfunction’ is used when it is not possible to achieve or maintain an erection long enough to complete the sexual act. Between 15 and 25% of the male population is estimated to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Impotence has various causes. The origin may be neurogenic (processes which affect the nerves involved in the penile erection), vascular (arteriosclerosis, for example), endocrine (diabetes), medication (antihypertensives), excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs, or psychological (neurosis, rejection by partner, stress, etc.).
Today we have effective drugs such as Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil). However, some patients do not respond to these medications and we are not sure why. Sometimes there are clear risk factors, and other times there is a lack of testosterone or other hormones. Our diagnostic protocol for these patients, especially young patients, is to do an exhaustive hormone study, as well as a number of tests.