What is impotence?


Impotence(mati pucuk) is commonly known as erectile dysfunction where it signifies the inability of your penis to get and maintain an adequate erection which is necessary for penetration during a sexual intercourse. Worldwide there is a high prevalence of impotence among aged mens between 40 to 80 years old and this figure is alarmingly increasing for the past years due to an increase in incidence of risk factors.

According to DSM 5, erectile dysfunction or better known as impotence is classified under the male sexual dysfunctions and there are few criterias to be fulfilled if you are about to be diagnosed with impotence. Those criterias are as follows:

  1. At least one of the symptoms must be experienced on all or almost all (about 75 to 100%) sexual occasions.
  • Marked difficulty in getting an erection satisfactory for sexual intercourse.
  • Marked difficulty in maintaining a penile erection which is satisfactory for sexual intercourse.
  • Marked decrease in erectile rigidity.
  1. The symptoms in Criteria A have persisted for a duration of at least 6 months.

Talking about rigidity of the penis to be diagnosed as impotence, let’s put it out in simple ways as an analogy to make you understand better. Take a peeled banana as an example, this condition is when your penis is hard but not adequate to penetrate the vaginal wall. Now, take an unpeeled banana as an example. This is the condition when your penis is hard and able to penetrate the vagina but it is not fully hard to a satisfactory level. Next, a cucumber. This would be an ideal penis which is fully hard and able to penetrate the vagina fully.

What are the risks and causes of impotence?

Generally, impotence can be caused by both physical and psychological factors. In relation to physical factors, narrowing of the blood supply (branches of the internal pudendal artery) can cut off the blood supply which supplies nourishments and important chemicals in blood responsible for the erection. This condition is common among men with underlying medical comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and high levels of cholesterol in the blood.

The reason why these medical comorbidities can have an impact of penile erection is that having high blood pressure can eventually damage your vessel wall and lead to formation of clots in them. Diabetes leads to few mechanisms that causes damage to your blood vessels supplying the penis. Smoking on the other hand also has hazardous chemicals that may damage your blood supply to your genitals.

Besides having medical conditions, surgical or physical trauma to the penis can also alter the blood supply and lead to erectile dysfunction. Hormone instability was also found to impact the erection of penis equally. Other risk factors will include obesity, practicing a sedentary lifestyle and having a metabolic syndrome.

Apart from physical factors, psychological factors also play an important role in this male sexual dysfunction. In the millennial era, many of us are currently going through many psychological disorders such as depression, stress, and anxiety, It is reported that 19% to 30% of men diagnosed with impotence are associated with depression and anxiety.

Psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety can affect the performance of man during a sexual intercourse which is often associated with erectile dysfunction. In addition to this, these conditions can also make them avoid seeking a doctor for appropriate treatment for dysfunction.

Diagnosing erectile dysfunction  can be challenging as your doctor will evaluate all your physical, hormonal and psychological factors before coming to a definite diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. Nevertheless, do not be afraid or shy to come up to a doctor and seek their help for your treatable condition.


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