Impotence, or erectile dysfunction (ED), is the total inability to achieve erection, an inconsistent ability to achieve an erection, or the ability to only sustain a brief erection. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 15 million to 30 million men are affected by ED, depending on the definition used. In the past it was commonly believed to be due to psychological problems, although it is now known that 80 percent to 90 percent of impotence is caused by physical problems, usually related to the blood supply to the penis. Other risk factors for ED include various medical problems such as hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure), diabetes, vascular disease, and high levels of blood cholesterol. Smoking and drug and alcohol abuse also are risk factors for ED. Many advances have occurred in both the diagnosis and treatment of ED. Treatments vary depending on many factors including age, overall health, and severity, but they can include medication, hormone replacement therapy, and penile implants or pumps.
The UAB Department of Urology specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the genitourinary tract, which includes both the urinary and reproductive systems. This multidisciplinary team of urologists, radiation and medical oncologists, nurse practitioners, and urology nurses and technicians work together to provide the most accurate diagnoses and effective treatment options available for male and female adult and pediatric patients. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UAB’s urology program among the top 50 of its kind in the nation.
The physicians and surgeons who staff the UAB Department of Urology are subspecialists in their areas of expertise. Most faculty members have completed fellowships in addition to the conventional urology training, including training in cancer treatment, kidney stone disease, male infertility, pediatric urology, and female urology. UAB Urology specialists are members of the American Board of Urology, the American Urological Association, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction, the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, the Society of Urologic Oncology, the Society of Female Urology and Urodynamics, and the American Medical Association, among others.
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