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Impotence is a common problem, affecting one in ten men but it is more common in men with diabetes.

Impotence means you cannot have an erection sufficient to perform sexual intercourse.   

Physical and psychological causes of impotence include:

  • Stress, anxiety and nervousness
  • Problems in relationships
  • Poor health
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Some medications
  • Some operations
  • Low levels of the male hormone testosterone. 

Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, is twice as likely to occur in smokers than non-smokers. 

When impotence is due to a physical cause men often find they gradually lose the ability to have an erection, and it tends to happen with all sexual activities. 

If you experience a sudden onset of impotence and can still achieve erections in some circumstances but not in others, the cause may be psychological. 

It's important to remember that over the past few years there have been major advances in the treatment of impotence and the majority of sufferers can now be treated effectively. 

When psychological factors or relationship problems are considered to be the cause of your impotence, a course of sex therapy or couples therapy may be beneficial. 

Some cases of impotence are caused by abnormalities in blood flow in and out of the penis and this can be treated by surgery. 

It is estimated that impotence affects up to 30 million American men. Most could be treated, but only 5% of men who suffer from the condition seek treatment. 

The reasons why men with diabetes are more prone to problems with impotence are not fully understood. 

Nerve damage, another problem for people with diabetes, may also contribute to impotence. 

The treatment for impotence depends on the cause. 

Physical impotence happens over a period of months or years and is often a gradual loss of function. 

Blood tests can also help to determine if hormone problems are causing the impotence. 

There are many treatment alternatives for impotence. 

Treatments depend on the cause of the impotence. 

Broadly speaking, an occasional episode of impotence is quite normal and no cause for concern. 

Some medically prescribed drugs can cause impotence, particularly those prescribed for high blood pressure. 

Talk to your healthcare professional if impotence follows the introduction of new medication. 

An enlarged prostate can, in certain circumstances, be associated with impotence. 

If you suffer from impotence or have problems with urination see your healthcare professional.