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Erectile Dysfunction: The Male Stigma

Anuj Sharma, RP Sharma.

The inability to achieve and maintain a penile erection during sexual activity is a devastating male sexual disorder termed as erectile dysfunction (ED) that affects the psychosocial status of men irrespective of their age. The disease might be of psychogenic or organic origin but the psychological and social burden of the disease is enormous. This factor has kept the disease under-reported and undiagnosed in most of the cases. However, recent awareness and sensitization have encouraged people to discuss the disease and seek clinical help. The diagnosis of ED relies mostly on analyzing patients' clinical and psychological history than laboratory-based diagnostic tests. In most cases, a questionnaire-based survey is taken to understand the psychological and sexual activity status of the patient. With the advent of modern pharmacotherapy and other invasive procedures, ED has become a manageable disease. The treatment regime may include endocrine therapy, shockwave therapy and in some cases can even require penile prosthesis surgery depending on the extent and severity of the disease. However, lifestyle modification and psychological counseling remain a common support for all patients suffering from ED. An in-depth understanding of the pathophysiology and psychosomatic pattern of erectile dysfunction can help both the patient and the clinician to deal with this disorder and evolve with better options for the management of the disease in future.


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