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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 215-219

Current and future standards in evaluation of erectile dysfunction

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224, India

Correspondence Address:
Raymond W Pak
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.27627

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Sexual dysfunction and more specifically erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a harbinger of serious occult medical conditions. ED can be considered a clinical manifestation of generalized vascular disease and therefore shares similar risk factors: aging, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia and smoking. The initial evaluation of men with ED should be thorough. Studies of normal and abnormal penile tumescence have led to the discovery of many important pathways. The greatest medical advance in the management of male sexual dysfunction since the identification of androgens have been the discoveries that nitric oxide (NO) is the primary neuro-modulator of penile smooth muscle relaxation and that oral phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors enhance erection quality through the NO mechanism. As a consequence of oral pharmacotherapies, the role of invasive diagnostics has diminished. Most guidelines recommend only history, physical exam and limited laboratory testing prior to instituting oral therapies for ED. In 2006 we still have unanswered questions about ED and these will frame the role of future diagnosis and therapy: can lifestyle changes alone improve erectile function; is ED a marker for the development of atherosclerotic heart disease, do lower urinary tract symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy and ED share a common pathway?

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