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HealthInfo Canterbury

Erection problems (erectile dysfunction)

older couple walkingErectile dysfunction, or ED, is when you can't achieve or maintain satisfactory erections. It is common, and becomes more common as men get older. Around 25% of men aged 65 will have some amount of ED. It can be very distressing and frustrating for both men and their partners.

Erection problems may be caused by non-medical problems such as tiredness, too much alcohol or recreational drug use, stress, depression or relationship problems.

Medical causes include problems with blood flow to your penis, hormones, prostate problems or surgery, and certain medications.

There are treatments available. If you are having erection problems you should talk to your GP. They will be able to assess what the underlying problem is and advise the correct treatment.

Sildenafil (Viagra, Avigra, Silvasta, Vedafil) is sometimes used to help with erection problems. It is not subsidised so you have to pay for it. Talk to your doctor about whether it is appropriate for you to try sildenafil

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Updated April 2016.

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Page reference: 47980

Review key: HIERD-47980