Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction (ED):

While no specific time is defined, some have suggested that the condition needs to persist for at least six months. The psychological and emotional impact of ED can be profound, impacting not only the afflicted individuals but also their partners. Unaddressed, it may precipitate anxiety, depression, diminished self-esteem, and strained interpersonal relationships. This condition can have a significant impact on their quality of life. This is the most common sexual dysfunction faced by men the risk of which increases with their age.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction (ED):

In the past, erectile dysfunction was considered, in most cases, to be a purely psychogenic disorder, but current evidence suggests that more than 80% of cases have organic aetiology.

The etiology of ED is multifactorial, including organic, psychogenic, and mixed factors, often associated with comorbidities such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurologic disorders.  Any disease process that affects penile arteries, nerves, hormone levels, smooth muscle tissue, corporal endothelium, or tunica albuginea can cause erectile dysfunction.   This condition is closely related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension, among other disorders. While the vast majority of patients with ED will have organic disease, some may have a primary psychological issue, particularly younger men.

Aging is an essential factor contributing to ED. Other causes of ED include neurological diseases (such as multiple sclerosis), hormonal causes (hypogonadism, thyroid), traumatic (e.g., pelvic fractures, spinal cord injuries), hyperlipidemia, stroke, sleep apnea, COPD, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, sequela of priapism, depression, prostatic hyperplasia with lower urinary symptoms (BPH with LUTS), iatrogenic (e.g., post transurethral resection of the prostate) and a variety of medications (antidepressants, antihypertensives, antipsychotics, opioids, and recreational drugs)


Many patients fail to seek medical attention. The basic work-up of patients seeking medical care for erectile dysfunction includes an evaluation of medical and sexual history, a careful general and focused genitourinary examination; and a minimum number of hormonal (like testosterone, TSH and prolactin) and routine biochemical tests. Other optional tests like ultrasound, neurological and cardiovascular tests can be considered in specific situations.

Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction (ED):

Initial treatment involves improving general health status through lifestyle modifications.

Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can contribute significantly to managing ED. It includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking are also advisable.

Psychological Counseling: Counseling or therapy, either individually or with a partner, can address the emotional and psychological factors contributing to ED. Identifying and managing stressors, anxiety, or relationship issues may improve overall sexual health.

Impact on Fertility: While ED itself does not directly cause infertility, it can affect the ability to have sexual intercourse, which is crucial for natural conception. However, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI), may offer alternatives for couples facing fertility challenges due to ED.

Oral Medications: Phosphodiesterase types 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, such as tadalafil (Cialis), sildenafil (Viagra), and vardenafil (Levitra), are commonly prescribed to enhance blood flow to the penis and facilitate erections. Testosterone supplementation can also be advised and useful in particular group of patients. These medications should be taken under strict medical guidance to avoid adverse effects.

Other nonsurgical measures:

After detailed evaluation measures like intra urethral suppositories, intracavernosal injections, vacuum erection devices will be advised for few patients in an individualized approach.

Surgical options:

In rare and difficult cases surgical options like penile implants and revascularization surgeries, arterial balloon angioplasty, venous ligation surgery might be needed. Surgery might be suited for patients who have contraindications, experience adverse effects or are refractory to medical therapy.

The recommended approach to patients with ED involves shared decision-making. In this approach, the clinician informs and educates the patient and his partner using the best available evidence about the various appropriate treatment options available to them. Almost every patient with ED can be treated successfully with the currently available therapies.


One of the most important messages to the public would be that this condition is treatable, and men should seek timely medical advice if they suffer from erectile dysfunction. This helps to address underlying health issues and also to explore suitable treatment options to improve the quality of life or treat the problem. To prevent the condition, positive, healthy, basic lifestyle choices should be addressed such as smoking, diet, and exercise. It is also paramount to aggressively take treatment for existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, properly. Open communication with healthcare professionals and partners is crucial to developing personalized treatment plans that consider both physical and psychological aspects of sexual health.