The erect penis is a universal symbol of maleness. This is one reason why erectile dysfunction—a common and often underdiagnosed inability to achieve or maintain an erection—may have considerable psychological effects. Klaus Morales and coauthors describe pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management
- By: Klaus Morales, Tulio Campos, Amadeu Roselli Cruz
A Google search for “erectile dysfunction” yields almost seven million results. From scientific studies to old wives tales, this topic stimulates curiosity, discussion, and research.
In general practice courses, most medical students will see patients reporting some sort of sexual dysfunction, and erectile dysfunction is one of the most common. Students often find it difficult to manage the situation, however, since sexual complaints are sometimes underdiagnosed in part because of the difficulty in tackling the subject with patients. Social morality and educational background influence the depth of involvement between patient and student and, therefore, the outcome of the consultation.
Erectile dysfunction is a global problem. Its prevalence tends to increase as populations age. Data from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study has indicated that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction of any degree is 39% in men 40 years old, and 67% in those aged 70 years.1
Penile erection is a complex