Authors: Magoha GA.
Male erectile dysfunction is common although some patients are embarrassed and delay seeking medical advice. Recent improvements in the understanding of the anatomy, physiology and pharmacotherapy of penile erections, and the introduction of intracavernosal pharmacotherapy has resolved most of the controversies regarding the aetiology of erectile dysfunction. Impotence is equally divided into organic and psychogenic causes. Arterial insufficiency, alcoholism, venosinusoidal, neurological and endocrine disorders are known to cause organic erectile dysfunction. Two most popular options in the management of erectile dysfunction are intracavernosal injections with vasoactive drugs like papavarine, phentolamine, and prostaglandin EI with discontinuation rates of 40-50%, and the use of external vacuum devices whose limitations include failure to achieve and maintain full erection. The use of inflatable penile prostheses is successful but limited with periprosthetic infection and cylinder erosion through the skin or urethra. Surgical procedures have included revascularisation of penile vessels without good results. Surgical ligation of penile veins for venosinusoidal incompetence has been successful compared to excision and embolisation which has disappointing results. Currently the role of oral medications in the treatment of erectile dysfunction is limited. However, there are now several new agents including sildenafil, a phosphodiasterase inhibitor, which is undergoing clinical trials that appear to be effective.
East Afr Med J. 1998 Nov; 75(11):623-7. Review. PubMed PMID: 10065171.
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