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The Challenge of Erectile Dysfunction Management in the Young Man


Erectile dysfunction (ED) in a young man is an important health problem that significantly impacts the patient’s quality of life and can have a detrimental effect on his well-being and relationship with his partner. Erectile dysfunction or impotence is one of the few disorders that will bring a young man into the doctor’s office. This review article focuses on the epidemiology, etiology, presentation, work-up, and treatment of young men (age ~20–40 years old) presenting with complaints of ED. It is important to identify the precise etiology of the ED before proceeding with further evaluation and treatment because the work-up can be invasive and costly. ED is estimated to affect 20 % of men above 40 years of age, with the incidence increasing with increasing age. Erectile dysfunction has traditionally been seen as an age-dependent problem; however, approximately 2 % of men are affected at 40 years of age but this may be a gross underestimation secondary to reporting bias. Because ED is traditionally seen in the aging male population, studies regarding ED tend to be more frequently carried out among middle-aged and elderly men rather than in young men. These studies underline how comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular or neurological pathologies, and medication use are strongly linked with ED. In addition, ED has been described to be associated with obesity or physical inactivity. This review article summarizes the important information that all sexual medicine providers should be familiar with when diagnosing, counseling, and treating young men with erectile dysfunction.

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Correspondence to Seth D. Cohen.

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Cohen, S.D. The Challenge of Erectile Dysfunction Management in the Young Man. Curr Urol Rep 16, 84 (2015).

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  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Men’s health
  • Sexual medicine