Erectile dysfunction, otherwise known ED or impotence, effects over 30 million American men according to a recent study authored by Dennis Lee, MD. Of that number, it is estimated that only half of men suffering from sexual dysfunction seek treatment. This is unfortunate because 90 to 95 percent of all cases can be treated. Having the facts about impotence is the first step toward recovery.

What is impotence? Impotence is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse. This can be caused by psychological factors such as stress or anxiety, or could be the manifestation of physical ailments such as high blood pressure or poor circulation.

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction should consult their doctor immediately. Often, the physical causes of impotence are simple to diagnose. Many common medications and treatable conditions cause ED. Treatment could be as easy as changing a drug you're on or treating the underlying ailment.

For impotence that is being caused by psychological factors, seeking help for both diagnosis and treatment from a qualified counselor is essential to restoring sexual function. While seeing a sex therapist isn't always feasible, most psychologists and psychiatrists are experienced enough to help guide you through the issues preventing you from experiencing a satisfying love life.

When seeking out impotence treatments, it is also essential to avoid self-diagnosis and self-medicating. While shy men may think about ordering some impotence remedies from a magazine or television advertisement, they often fail to understand how much more demoralizing it can be when a bad reaction to such snake oil remedies lands them in the emergency room. Such remedies are not regulated by the FDA and can cause dangerous reactions with prescription medications or with foods common in your diet.

To get help with erectile dysfunction, tell your doctor what is happening. They are legally and ethically bound not to spread word about your health problems. After a few tests, it's usually simple to find the cause of your impotence. You may be asked to go to a lab to have blood drawn or your cardiac functions tested. It is not unusual for your cholesterol and lipid counts to be a factor in ED.

Once your doctor has found and begun treatment on the cause of your erectile dysfunction, it's common to see improvement with a few weeks. If your ED gets worse or is accompanied by other distressing symptoms such as chest pain or difficulty breathing, call your doctor's answering service to see if you should go to the hospital for emergency care.