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Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

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Definition & Facts

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition in which you are unable to get or keep an erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. You may find it difficult to talk with a health care professional about ED. However, remember that a healthy sex life is part of a healthy life.

Symptoms & Causes

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED) include being able to get an erection sometimes, but not every time; being able to get an erection but not having it last long enough for sexual intercourse; and being unable to get an erection at any time.

Diagnosis

A doctor diagnoses erectile dysfunction (ED) with a medical and sexual history and a mental health and physical exam. You may find it difficult to talk with a health care professional about ED; however, remember that a healthy sex life is part of a healthy life.

Treatment

A health care professional may work with you to treat an underlying cause of your erectile dysfunction (ED). Choosing an ED treatment is a personal decision.

Prevention

You can help prevent many of the causes of ED by adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as being physically active, quitting smoking, and following a healthy eating plan.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

The Urinary Tract and How it Works

The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for removing urine, which is composed of wastes and extra fluid. In order for normal urination to occur, all body parts in the urinary tract need to work together in the correct order.

Related Research

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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank:
Tom Lue, M.D., University of California San Francisco