Current diagnosis and management of erectile dysfunction

Christopher G McMahon
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50167
Published online: 3 June 2019


  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common male sexual dysfunction associated with a reduced quality of life for patients and their partners.
  • ED is associated with increasing age, depression, obesity, lack of exercise, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, cardiovascular disease and lower urinary tract symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia.
  • The evaluation of men with ED requires a full medical and personally and culturally sensitive sexual history, a focused clinical examination, fasting glucose levels, a fasting lipid profile and, in select cases, a total testosterone level and a prostate‐specific antigen test.
  • Treatment of ED requires lifestyle modification, reduction of comorbid vascular risk factors, and treatment of organic or psychosexual dysfunction with either pharmacotherapy alone or in combination with psychosexual therapy.
  • Between 60% and 65% of men with ED, including those with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, spinal cord injury and other comorbid medical conditions, can successfully complete intercourse in response to the phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i) sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and avanafil.
  • Patient‐administered intracorporal injection therapy using vasodilator drugs such as alprostadil is an effective treatment and is useful in men who fail to respond to oral pharmacological agents.
  • Surgical treatment of ED with multicomponent inflatable penile implants is associated with high satisfaction rates.
  • Penile arterial revascularisation and venous ligation surgery are associated with relatively poor outcome results in men with penile atherosclerotic disease or corporal veno‐occlusive dysfunction.

  • Australian Centre for Sexual Health, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

Christopher McMahon is a paid investigator, member of an advisory board and speaker's panel for Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Menarini.

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