6 October 2020

New European survey finds that one in four affected don’t talk about it

Awareness of erective dysfunction (ED) is alarmingly low, with half of people not accurately knowing what ED is, according to a major new survey commissioned by the European Association of Urology (EAU).

The survey, of 3,032 men and women aged 20 to 70 in Spain, France, Germany and the UK, found that one third defined ED incorrectly and 17% confessed they did not know what ED is.

ED is defined as the inability to get or keep an erection. Studies indicate that around half of men aged 40-70 years experience it.

The survey found that single people are least likely to know what ED is. German respondents scored worst: only 49% answered correctly, compared to Spain where 78% did.

Of the 17% of survey respondents who had experience of ED, one in four admitted to not talking about it to anyone. A small majority had sought medical advice from a healthcare professional. But, alarmingly, one in four of the respondents had never heard of any of the ED treatments listed in the survey: medication, sexual education, relationship therapy, vacuum erection devices, penile injections, penile implants, shockwave therapy and topical therapies.

Knowledge about treatments was most limited in the UK, where 31% had never heard of the treatments (compared to 18% in Spain) and only 50% thought ED was treatable (compared with 68% in Spain).

“Clearly ED is a common medical condition. There’s absolutely no need for shame,” said Christopher Chapple, Secretary General of the EAU. “Talk about it with each other. This will provide relief and will take away some of the pressure. Communication is the key to breaking the taboo.”