Iatrogenic causes of erectile dysfunction

A. Melman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To achieve penile erection, a man's endocrine, neurologic, and cardiovascular systems must function properly. Medical or surgical therapy can influence those systems and so cause erectile dysfunction. Also, casual random or uninformed comments from medical professionals can undermine a man's ability to perform coitus. Physicians need to understand these iatrogenic causes of erectile dysfunction in order to prevent or reverse them. In those cases in which the patient is to experience a permanent dysfunction, the knowledgeable physician can at least explain to that patient what he may expect. I would sound one note of caution at the outset: most research articles that discuss erectile dysfunction contain undocumented self-reports. This is especially true in the psychological and nonurologic literature. In many cases, researchers have not applied objective measures of penile tumescence and rigidity. Thus, the reported incidence of erectile failure is as patients perceive it and thus may be too high. Nevertheless, if a patient feels concerned about his potency, the physician should address and treat the symptom, whether it stems from a psychological or a physiologic problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalUrologic Clinics of North America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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