How is erectile dysfunction (ED) defined?

Updated: Oct 14, 2020
  • Author: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Erectile dysfunction (ED), formerly termed impotence, is defined as "the inability to attain and/or maintain penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance" or "the consistent or recurrent inability to attain and/or maintain penile erection sufficient for sexual satisfaction". [1] Although some cases, particularly in younger men, may primarily reflect psychological concerns, in many cases ED results from organic disease—notably, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. [2] Thus, ED may serve as a marker for medical conditions in need of treatment. [1] Regardless of the cause, however, ED can have negative effects on patients' self-esteem, relationships, and overall quality of life. [1, 2]


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