Saturday, September 4, 1999 Published at 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Taking the anxiety out of impotence
One in five impotent men said it wrecked their relationship
Many men blame impotence for the break up of relationships, medical groups say.
Now the Men's Health Forum and the Impotence Association are launching a campaign to dispel myths about the condition and encourage men to seek help.
They say ignorance remains despite advances in knowledge of the condition, which causes anxiety and depression.
The campaign will publicise an advice line through national media and callers will be able to request a booklet, discuss the condition or talk to a trained counsellor.
Dr Ian Banks, chairman of the Men's Health Forum, said: "Up until 20 years ago it was believed that impotence was almost entirely due to psychological factors and this is true in some individuals.
"However, we now know that most cases are caused by an underlying illness, lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol and obesity or certain medications."
The groups are also publicising research from recent years showing that:
"Impotence is all to often perceived as affecting just the man," said Ann Craig, director of the Impotence Association.
"This is clearly not the case and the partner can therefore be pivotal in reassuring and encouraging the sufferer to seek appropriate help.
"Wherever possible advice and treatment should be sought as a couple."