Erectile dysfunction is a major cause of male impotence, and occurs when a man cannot get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Erection problems can happen from time to time, but ongoing issues should be assessed.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by a range of conditions. Both physical and psychological issues can be the cause. Although other options are available, ED is most often treated with medications such as Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Stendra (avanafil).
These medicines work with the body’s own chemical (nitric oxide) that relaxes muscles in the penis and allows the penis to become erect by increasing blood flow. This can increase both the number and duration of erections. However, they are not aphrodisiacs and do not increase libido (interest in sex). And they do not work in all men.
Last reviewed: November 2016