Erectile dysfunction is defined as the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse.

This dysfunction should persist for at least 6 months, may have organic (vascular, arterial, venous, mixed, neurogenic, anatomic, endocrine) or psychogenic causes, and may significantly reduce the quality of life and well-being of the individual as well as the life partner. 1 In the European Male Aging Study (EMAS), 30% of men reported suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). The condition can occur at any age, but prevalence increases with age to approximately 64% of those over 70 years. Comorbidities (e.g., diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, hypertension, or depression) and noxious agents (nicotine, alcohol) but also lifestyle (obesity, lack of physical activity) can cause or exacerbate the manifestation of ED.2 Studies show that ED in all age groups not only affects sexual life, but also reduces all quality of life parameters.3 Apart from treatment of the cause or prevention (e.g. diabetes), erectile dysfunction can be treated with medication, e.g. phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. 1


1 Guidelines for diagnosis and therapy in neurology; 4th revised edition 2008, p. 654 ff, ISBN 978-3-13-132414-6; Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart.

2 Corona G. et al. Age-related changes in general and sexual health in middle-aged and older men: results from the European Male Ageing Study (EMAS). J. Sex. Med, 2010, 7: 1362-1380.

3 McCabe MP. Intimacy and quality of life among sexually dysfunctional men and women. J. Sex Marital Ther., 1997, 23: 276-290.