Background: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is prevalent and often associated with chronic diseases and previous operations on the prostate. Our aims were to investigate the prevalence of ED among males seeking general practitioners and to register known risk factors.
Material and methods: During a short period in late 1998, 49 Norwegian general practitioners in the county of Østfold asked all their male patients over 40 years of age to anonymously fill in a questionnaire.
Results: 1,182 men completed the study. 20% stated that they had moderate ED, while 13% had complete ED. The prevalence of ED increased with age. Complete ED was found in 2% of those between 40 and 50, 5% between 50 and 60, 16% between 60 and 70, and in 37% of those above 70 years of age. The corresponding values for moderate ED was 6, 16, 32 and 28%. Moderate/complete ED was increased in the subgroups with hypertension, depression, diabetes, > one concomitant disease, and post prostate surgery. Physically "very active" individuals had less ED than the "non-active". No significant association was found with alcohol or tobacco. Most patients with ED wanted to discuss the problem with their general practitioners, but only 6% received treatment.