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6 October 2003
Impotence Can Be Symptom Of Serious Illness
by George Atkinson

Erectile dysfunction (impotence), is no longer the taboo topic it once was, perhaps due to Viagra, the first oral drug for this condition. Whilst new drugs like Viagra have raised awareness of impotence, it is important for men to understand that impotence may be a symptom of other illnesses. Impotence can be the first sign of serious illnesses including diabetes; high blood pressure; kidney, liver or hormonal disorders; or coronary artery disease.

The current issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter outlines other treatment options for erectile dysfunction and why treatment is important.

Erectile dysfunction is more common in men over age 65 but can occur at any age.

Men with concerns about impotence should ask their doctor about treatment options which include;

  • Oral medications: As well as Viagra, a second medication was approved by the FDA in 2003 and another is expected to be available by the end of the year.

  • Injected drugs: Men can inject drugs into the penis to enhance blood flow.

  • Self-administered intraurethral therapy: This involves using a small applicator to insert a tiny pellet of medicine into the urethra.

  • Vacuum devices: These devices are a hollow plastic tube which is placed over the penis and pumped to create a vacuum that pulls blood into the penis.

  • Surgical options: These are usually considered if other treatments aren't working. Semirigid rods or inflatable devices may be surgically implanted.

The Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of information on today's health and medical news. To subscribe, please call toll-free 800-333-9037, extension 9PR1.

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