Urological Conditions - Male Urology
Overview of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

ED is the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. ED can be a total inability to achieve an erection, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only brief erections.

ED is sometimes called impotence, but that word is being used less often so that it will not be confused with other, nonmedical meanings of the term.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that ED affects as many as 30 million men in the United States. Incidence increases with age: About 4 percent of men in their 50s and nearly 17 percent of men in their 60s experience a total inability to achieve an erection. The incidence jumps to 47 percent for men older than 75. But ED is not an inevitable part of aging. ED is treatable at any age.

Two chambers called the corpora cavernosa run the length of the penis (see Figure 1). A spongy tissue fills the chambers. The corpora cavernosa are surrounded by a membrane, called the tunica albuginea. The spongy tissue contains smooth muscles, fibrous tissues, spaces, veins, and arteries. The urethra, which is the channel for urine and ejaculate, runs along the underside of the corpora cavernosa and is surrounded by the corpus spongiosum.

An erection begins with sensory or mental stimulation, or both. Impulses from the brain and local nerves cause the muscles of the corpora cavernosa to relax, allowing blood to flow in through the arteries and fill the spaces. The blood creates pressure in the corpora cavernosa, making the penis expand. The tunica albuginea helps trap the blood in the corpora cavernosa, thereby sustaining the erection. The erection ends when muscles in the penis contract to stop the inflow of blood and open the veins for blood outflow.

Figure 1. Arteries and veins of the penis
 
Additional Reference Documents (PDFs):

Erectile Dysfunction  NKUDIC: NIH Publication No. 09-3923 June 2009

References:

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
AND HUMAN SERVICES

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases
Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)

National Institutes of Health
NIH Publication No. 09-3923
June 2009

Websites for Additional Information:

AUAFoundation - The Official Foundation of the American Urological Association

NKDEP - National Kidney Disease Education Program

NKUDIC-National Kidney and Urologic Diseases
Information Clearinghouse

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases
Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)Kidney and Urologic Diseases A-Z list of Topics and Titles

Enid Urology Associates, Inc. 615 E. Oklahoma, Suite 202 ~ Enid, Oklahoma 73703
Phone: 580.233.3230  Fax: 580.233.0698

© Copyright 2012. Enid Urology Associates, Inc. - All rights reserved.