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Cocaine and impotence

Cocaine enjoys a reputation as an aphrodisiac. However, substantial evidence is accumulating to indicate that chronic cocaine use, alone or in combination with alcohol, ultimately causes sexual dysfunction. Cocaine alone stimulates secretion of the sexually inhibiting hormone prolactin. Cocaine also causes spasms in arteries; blood flow to the penis cannot be sustained if arterial spasms […]


Reserpine is an ancient Hindu medicine originally used to treat insomnia, hyperactivity, and insanity. It was this latter property that initially attracted Western pharmacologists. Reserpine (Serpasil) was one of the first major tranquilizers introduced for the treatment of severely disturbed psychotic individuals. As psychiatrists gained familiarity with this medication, they rapidly became aware that their […]


Methyldopa (Aldomet) is generally accepted as an effective antihypertensive medication, but it interferes with the function of the naturally occurring body chemical doparnine, which is important for normal nerve function and hormone release. The body converts the drug methyldopa to a look-alike chemical called methyldopamine, which then shoulders aside the body’s own dopamine. Methyldopamine is […]

Hormones, Impotence, and the Temporal Lobe

Our understanding of the hormonal interplay necessary for normal male sexual function continues to evolve. Medical professionals used to consider the pituitary the master gland, the agent that doled out specific instructions to regulate the function of the other endocrine glands — thyroid, adrenals, and testicles. Twenty years ago, it became clear that the pituitary […]

Who Does and Does Not Benefit from Hormone Therapy?

Hormone treatment is effective only in impotent men with bona fide hormone abnormalities. Indiscriminate use of testosterone, bromocriptine, or thyroid hormone is neither warranted nor effective; the practice of arbitrary administration of testosterone therapy to “boost” testosterone levels is similarly of no value. Testosterone increases libido and improves erectile function only in men with proven […]

How Common Are Hormone Problems in Impotent Men?

Hormone abnormalities, once thought to be a rare cause of impotence, are now recognized with increasing frequency. In one study of 422 impotent men at a Veterans Administration hospital, disorders of hormone secretion were detected in 29 percent. Primary hypogonadism and secondary hypogonadism dominated (19 percent), while 4 percent had hyperprolactinemia and 6 percent had […]

Finding Hormone Problems in Impotent Men

All the necessary hormone measurements needed to detect hormone abnormalities can be performed on a single blood sample. Hormone levels normally vary throughout the day but generally fall within a range that is bracketed by an upper and lower limit called the reference range. When a man’s blood hormone levels fall within the reference range, […]

Thyroid Hormone Disorders

The thyroid hormone thyroxine stabilizes the body’s metabolism and allows us to proceed on an even keel from day to day. Both excessive and inadequate thyroxine production (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism) can interfere with normal male sexual function. The diagnosis of thyroid hormone disorders is usually not difficult in young men. Nervousness, palpitations, weight loss, tremor, […]

What Is Prolactin and Why Does It Disrupt Male Sexual Function?

We frankly do not know why men have prolactin-producing capability at all. Prolactin serves an important function in women, but only at a specific moment in their reproductive lives. At the end of a woman’s pregnancy, her pituitary produces and releases generous amounts of prolactin into the bloodstream to stimulate breast-milk production. Nursing mothers usually […]

Secondary Hypogonadism

Men with normal testicles may still be incapable of producing testosterone if the stimulus to testosterone production is absent or blunted. The causes of secondary hypogonadism include benign tumors (adenomas) of the pituitary and the hypothalamus. Pituitary Adenomas The pituitary gland is responsible for regulating thyroid, adrenal, and testicular hormone secretion. When the pituitary becomes […]