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Conditions: Erectile Dysfunction

Overview - Erectile Dysfunction

What is erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs when a consistent inability to get or maintain an erection prevents you from having satisfying sex. A man with ED either loses his erection before intercourse, gets only a partial erection, or gets no erection at all. ED is sometimes called impotence, but the preferred term is ED.

How common is ED?

Because ED is somewhat open to definition, it is tough to accurately estimate the number of sufferers. There is no universally agreed-upon criteria for how consistent an erection problem has to be and for how long it has to continue in order for it to qualify as ED. Plus, it can be hard to determine the number accurately because many men don't like to about it.

But some studies suggest that 20% of men in their 50s, and about 18 million Americans between the ages of 40 and 70, have ED to some degree. Worldwide, it's estimated that ED affects about 100 million men. And ED need not be chronic to make its presence felt. Other studies suggest that almost all men experience occasional difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. In many cases, it's just temporary and needs only short term treatment.

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