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The History of Erectile Dysfunction

February 15th, 2008

Erectile Dysfunction: Definition

The condition of erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, has become of increasing
concern in the last thirty years. Erectile dysfunction is noted with several signs and
symptoms, the main problem being the inability of a man to become erect or maintain an
erection. There are several risk factors that enhance the possibility of the development of
this condition, but there currently exist no known or published research facts that detail the
exact manner in which erectile dysfunction develops.

Erectile Dysfunction: Prevalence

Research estimates that by the age of 40, approximately 5% of men will demonstrate signs
and symptoms of erectile dysfunction . Research also estimates 15-25% of men between the
ages of 40-65 have the condition of erectile dysfunction. Age is currently the variable that
has the strongest correlation with the development of erectile dysfunction.

The prevalence of erectile dysfunction also has strong associations with several other
conditions including: diabetes, hypertension, and specific medications. It is important to
note that research on erectile dysfunction is limited by several factors as not all men report
the condition of erectile dysfunction, hence it may be more or less prevalent based on non-
reported statistical evidence.

Erectile Dysfunction: Relative Penis Size

The male human has a large relative penis and testicle size relative to his body size in
comparison with the vast majority of other mammals. This biological fact is not surprising.
The evolution of an upright stance created the unconcealed display of the penis. It also
made possible the face-to-face personal intercourse.

Unlike many other mammals, the male glans contains no means of attachment (many
mammals have projections located on the glans for attachment for increased fertilization
purposes) or bones (many mammal penises contain an inner bone restricting movement),
making the process of intercourse more pleasurable for their female counterparts. These
enhancements are also cause for the development of erectile dysfunction.
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Erectile Dysfunction: The Beginnings

The true beginnings of erectile dysfunction are unknown, but its existence is assumed to
date with the beginnings of man. The first noted cases of erectile dysfunction date to
medieval times. Muslim physicians developed several therapies and prescribed several oral
medications for treatment of the condition. It is also assumed that the original development
of aphrodeisiacs was utilized mainly for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, however
there is limited evidence to support this.

Erectile Dysfunction: The Beginnings in the United

The first known medications for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in the United States
began in the 1920’s by Dr. John R. Brinkley. Dr. Brinkley inserted goat glands for male
enhancement and recommended the use of mercurochrome injections. This was short lived,
as it did not take long for the States to revoke his medical license. The first penile implants
were available and inserted in the 1970’s.

The currently used modern medications for the treatment of erectile dysfunctions began
development in the mid 1980’s. Dr. Brindley utilized a non-specific vasodilator injection
causing smooth muscle relaxation. This discovery has been the basis for all proceeding
medication developments.