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What is erectile dysfunction?

Burnett et al (2018), describes erectile dysfunction (ED) to be conceptualised as an impairment of the sexual response and a consistent or recurrent inability to attain or maintain an erection. 

What causes erectile dysfunction?

Various causes that include comorbidities, psychological impairments, medications, vascular impairment and substance abuse or various surgical procedures (Burnett et al., 2018). 

How can a man prevent ED?

  1. Quit smoking
  2. Eat a healthy diet
  3. Exercise
  4. Maintain a healthy body weight
  5. Avoid excessive alcohol use above recommended limits or quit drinking
  6. Avoid substance use or obtain help with treatment


What should a man do if he has developed Erectile Dysfunction?

  1. Complete a medical and sexual history along with a physical exam and blood work with your healthcare provider
  2. Understand that ED can be a risk for cardiovascular disease or other undiagnosed conditions causing ED
  3. Measurement of testosterone levels should be conducted, but may not be the reason for ED
  4. Mental health evaluation may also be necessary and help with the many concerns men may have with ED


What treatment is available for Erectile Dysfunction?

  1. If there is a penile deformity such as Peyronie’s Disease, a urological evaluation would be recommended
  2. If there is a psychological concern such as depression, anxiety, or relationship challenges, referring to a psychotherapist for treatment may be needed
  3. Lifestyle modifications such as dietary management and exercise may have a positive effect on ED
  4. FDA approved medications such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and avanafil, and at times combined with testosterone can be an effective treatment. Avoid these medications if you are taking medication for the treatment of prostate enlargement or certain heart medications. Make sure your provider knows all medications you are currently taking
  5. Vacuum erection devices are an effective and low cost treatment
  6. Penile prosthesis implant
  7. Alprostadil which is a medication delivered by Injection or suppository


Burnett AL, Nehra A, Breau RH et al: Erectile dysfunction: AUA guideline. J Urol 2018; 200: 633.

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