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Health Condition

Erectile Dysfunction

About This Condition

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of a male to attain or sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.

It can be a persistent condition; however, almost half of all men experience ED only occasionally. ED can have physical, psychological, or drug-induced causes.1 Although some doctors used to believe differently, most researchers and doctors now believe that physical factors are responsible for the majority of ED cases.

Several conditions may contribute to ED by impairing blood flow to the penis. These include atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, and chronic alcohol abuse.

Symptoms

ED is defined by the symptoms listed above. Symptoms may also include loss of sexual desire (libido), premature ejaculation, or inability to achieve orgasm.

Other Therapies

Depending on the cause, therapy may include psychological and behavioral counseling, treatment of underlying cardiovascular disease, and avoidance of medications such as cimetidine, antihypertensives, and MAO inhibitors. Penile vacuum devices and surgical options, such as penile implants and vascular repair, are usually limited to those who have not responded to other treatments.

References

1. Hernández-López C. Drugs do not only relieve male menopause. BMJ 2000;321:451 [letter].

2. Choi HK, Seong DH, Rha KH. Clinical efficacy of Korean red ginseng for erectile dysfunction. Int J Impotence Res 1995;7:181-6.

3. Hong B, Ji YH, Hong JH, et al. A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of Korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction: a preliminary report. J Urol 2002;168:2070-3.

4. Ernst E, Pittler MH. Yohimbine for erectile dysfunction: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. J Urol 1998;159:433-6.

5. Carey MP, Johnson BT. Effectiveness of yohimbine in the treatment of erectile disorder: Four meta-analytic integrations. Arch Sex Behav 1996;25:341.

6. Kunelius P, Häkkinen J, Lukkarinen O. Is high-dose yohimbine hydrochloride effective in the treatment of mixed-type impotence? A prospective, randomized, controlled double-blind crossover study. Urol 1997;49:441-4.

7. Mann K, Klingler T, Noe S, et al. Effect of yohimbine on sexual experiences and nocturnal tumescence and rigidity in erectile dysfunction. Arch Sex Behav 1996;25:1-16.

8. Zorgniotti AW, Lizza EF. Effect of large doses of the nitric oxide precursor, L-arginine, on erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 1994;6:33-6.

9. Chen J, Wollman Y, Chernichovsky T, et al. Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized study. BJU Int 1999;83:269-73.

10. Cherdshewasart W, Nimsakul N. Clinical trial of Butea superba, an alternative herbal treatment for erectile dysfunction. Asian J Androl 2003;5:243-6.

11. Reiter WJ, Pycha A, Schatzl G, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: a prospective, double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled study. Urology 1999;53:590-5.

12. Sohn M, Sikora R. Ginkgo biloba extract in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. J Sex Educ Ther 1991;17:53-61.

13. Cohen AJ, Bartlik B. Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther 1998;24:139-43.

14. Liao HJ, Chen XM, Li WG. Effect of Epimedium sagittatum on quality of life and cellular immunity in patients of hemodialysis maintenance. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 1995;15:202-4 [in Chinese].

15. Cavallini G, Caracciolo S, Vitali G, et al. Carnitine versus androgen administration in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, depressed mood, and fatigue associated with male aging. Urology2004;63:641-6.

16. Durackova Z, Trebaticky B, Novotny V, et al. Lipid metabolism and erectile function improvement by Pycnogenol®, extract from the bark of Pinus pinaster in patients suffering from erectile dysfunction—a pilot study. Nutr Res 2003;23:1189-98.

17. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 71-2.

18. Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 492.

19. Aydin S, Ercan M, Çaskurlu T, et al. Acupuncture and hypnotic suggestions in the treatment of non-organic male sexual dysfunction. Scand J Urol Nephrol 1997;31:271-4.

20. Kho HG, Sweep CG, Chen X, et al. The use of acupuncture in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 1999;11:41-6.

21. Yaman LS, Kilic S, Sarica K, et al. The place of acupuncture in the management of psychogenic impotence. Eur Urol 1994;26:52-5.

22. Condra M, Morales A, Owen JA, et al. Prevalence and significance of tobacco smoking in impotence. Urology 1986;27:495-8.

23. Esposito K, Giugliano F, Di Palo C, et al. Effect of lifestyle changes on erectile dysfunction in obese men: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2004;291:2978-84.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.

Drugs used to treat ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION. Select drug name to view medication information and pricing