Study Shows New Cause of Impotence

Prospects Improve for Restoring Sexual Potency

Hormonal disorders, often cause sexual impotence, which medical treatment can easily correct, a recent study by the Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Hospital shows.

The study of 105 impotent men aged 18 to 75, conducted by Dr. Richard F. Spark, associate professor of Medicine, challenges the widely accepted view that almost all sexual impotence results from depression, stress or other psychological factors.

A deficiency in the sex hormone testosterone caused impotence in 35 per cent of the impotent men tested, the study concluded. Medical treatment restored sexual potency, often in as little as two days, in almost all the men with hormonal disorders.

Not Effective

Because doctors commonly believe that the causes of impotency--the inability to achieve erection at least 25 per cent of the time during attempted intercourse--are psychological, they usually treat it solely as a psychological problem. But the study states that "psychotherapy has not proved to be consistently effective in alleviating impotence."

The authors of the report hope to alert physicians to take hormonal disorders into account when treating impotence, Anthony Lloyd, public relations director of Beth Israel, said last week.

An Awful Lot

Lloyd said "an awful lot of people" do not seek medical aid for impotence because they do not want to undergo lengthy psychotherapy. However, physicians can detect hormonal abnormalities through blood tests and restore full potency through medical treatment of hormonal imbalances, the study concludes.