The Medical Clinics of North America vol:95 issue:1 pages:201-12
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a prevalent and important disease that has been associated with various comorbidities. The evaluation of patients with ED should include a general health assessment followed by a discussion of reversible factors and lifestyle changes that might help preserve erectile capacity. Numerous effective treatment options are currently available. A frank discussion about use and side effects of these therapies is required to optimize success. Although oral pharmacologic treatments can be initiated and monitored by the primary care physician, patients who do not experience response to these treatments may be best served by referral to a sexual medicine specialist for further assessment and consideration of other treatment options. This article discusses the physiology and pathophysiology of erectile function in men, how the primary care physician may address the clinical problem of ED in practice, and when specialty referral is indicated.