50 Years of Erectile Dysfunction: How Far Have We Come?

Jeffrey A. Albaugh


Urol Nurs. 2019;39(5):262-264. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


History is rich with stories of men suffering from erectile issues. Real and reliable advancements in treating erectile difficulties have progressed over the last 50 years. This article offers an overview of these advancements and current progress on new therapies.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) has been a problem for men since the beginning of time, with reports in the Bible and in Egyptian hieroglyphics (Carson, Kirby, Goldstein, & Wyllie, 2009). ED is defined as the inability to get and/or keep an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance (National Institutes of Health [NIH] Consensus Development Panel on Impotence, 1993). The good news is that ED is a treatable medical condition. Most of the current evidence-based treatments for ED have been discovered or refined over the past 50 years. In the past, it was thought ED was caused by psychological issues, but over time, research revealed ED was most often also caused by a physiologic etiology that was vascular or neurologic in nature (Carson et al., 2009).