How is impotence treated?

Treatment of impotence begins with a lifelong program of regular medical care, which allows your health care professional to provide early screening tests. Regular medical care also provides an opportunity for your health care professional to promptly evaluate symptoms and your risks for developing impotence. Treatment of impotence is based on its cause.

Common treatments of impotence

Common treatments of impotence include:

  • Alprostadil urethral pellets (MUSE) to relax blood vessels of the penis
  • Couples therapy to develop techniques that improve intimacy 
  • Injectable medications such as alprostadil (Caverject, Edex), papaverine, and phentolamine to relax blood vessels of the penis
  • Oral phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), or vardenafil (Levitra) to improve blood flow to the penis
  • Psychotherapy to decrease anxiety
  • Surgery to improve blood flow to the penis
  • Surgery to prevent blood leakage from the penis
  • Surgical implants to cause erection
  • Testosterone replacement if a low testosterone level is a contributing factor
  • Vacuum devices to pull blood into the penis and cause engorgement

What you can do to improve your impotence

There are steps you can take that may mitigate your impotence. These steps include:

  • Decreasing or eliminating alcohol use
  • Discontinue illicit drug use
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Participating in counseling to address emotional or psychological issues
  • Taking medications as prescribed to control blood sugar and high blood pressure
  • Quitting smoking

What are the potential complications of impotence?

Complications of untreated diseases that contribute to impotence can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of impotence include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Unfulfilling sex life


  1. Erectile dysfunction. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC).
  2. Erectile dysfunction. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  3. McVary KT. Clinical practice. Erectile dysfunction. N Engl J Med 2007; 357:2472.
  4. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.
  5. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.

What is impotence?

Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, is the inability of a male to attain and keep an erection sufficiently firm to engage in or complete sexual intercourse. Although it is more common in older men, impotence can occur at any age. Impotence is not a normal consequence of aging. About 70% of erectile dysfunction is due to diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis, another 10% to 20% is due to... Read more about impotenceintroduction


What are the symptoms of impotence?

Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, is the inability of a male to attain and keep an erection sufficiently firm to engage in or complete sexual intercourse. Impotence manifests differently in different individuals. You may find you are unable to achieve an erection at all, or you may be able to achieve an erection, but only briefly.

Common symptoms of impotence

Common s... Read more about impotencesymptoms


What causes impotence?

Most of the time, impotence has a physical cause. Achieving an erection is a complicated process requiring your body to transmit sensations from the genital area to the nervous system and return nervous impulses to the muscles and blood vessels of the penis. Anything that interferes with this interchange, such as disease or injury of the blood vessels, muscles, or nerves, can lead to impotence.... Read more about impotencecauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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This Article is Filed Under: Erectile Dysfunction, Male Reproductive System

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