Forty-eight men with Parkinson's disease (PD) were interviewed utilizing a questionnaire which evaluated autonomic function. The study population included PD patients (mean age: 65.8 years, mean duration of PD: 8 years) and 32 elderly healthy nonparkinsonian males (mean age: 70.4 years). We found a significantly higher prevalence of the following symptoms of autonomic dysfunction in the parkinsonian patients: erectile dysfunction (60.4 vs. 37.5%), sensation of incomplete bladder emptying (41.6 vs. 15.6%), urgency (45.8 vs. 3.125%), constipation (43.9 vs. 6.25%), dysphagia (22.9 vs. 6.25%) and orthostatic dizziness (21.95 vs. 0%). Eighty-nine percent of parkinsonian patients had at least one of these autonomic symptoms, compared to 43% of control subjects (p less than 0.05). This study is the first comprehensive survey of autonomic symptomatology in PD compared to elderly healthy controls and confirms that autonomic nervous system dysfunction is a pervasive problem in PD. Erectile dysfunction is a significant problem in this patient group and contributes to deterioration in the quality of life.