Practice 10-minute consultation

Erectile dysfunction

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 09 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:593
  1. Jonathan Rees, general practitioner (,
  2. Biral Patel, specialist registrar in urology
  1. Backwell and Nailsea Medical Group, Nailsea, Avon BS48 1BZ
  2. Cheltenham General Hospital, Cheltenham
  1. Correspondence to: J Rees

    A 63 year old man comes to you for a routine check of his blood pressure. During the consultation you notice an entry in his notes about difficulty with erections that was never followed up.

    What issues you should cover

    Is this an ongoing problem?—Healthcare professionals often fail to initiate discussion of possible erectile dysfunction, whether because of embarrassment, lack of knowledge, or pressure of time. Patients find it even more difficult to raise the issue with their doctors, even though erectile dysfunction can have a major effect on their quality of life and on their partners and can place considerable strain on the relationship. Erectile dysfunction may also be an important indicator of underlying medical problems.

    Causes—These can be divided roughly into psychogenic origins (such as a new partner, relationship problems, and depression) …

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