Prevalence of erectile dysfunction among young adults: results of a large-scale survey

J Sex Med. 2004 Nov;1(3):284-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.04041.x.


Introduction: Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be an early and first sign of an underlying systemic disease. A screening program is offered by the Medical services of the Israel Defense Force for career servicemen at the Staff Periodic Examination Center (SPEC) aimed at early detection of morbidity. The Sexual Human Inventory for Males (SHIM) questionnaire was introduced to these men in order to identify ED, to offer men with ED suitable treatment options, and to investigate underlying systemic diseases.

Aim: To provide epidemiological data regarding the prevalence of ED among a large-scale young adult population.

Methods: Subjects aged 25-50 years are undergoing a routine check-up at SPEC. Blood samples, physiological measures, demographic variables, information on health status and smoking habits are recorded and documented. The SHIM self-administrated questionnaire was used to characterize ED.

Results: During 2001-2003, 11,914 males reported to SPEC (average age 34.8 +/- 7.1 years). Five thousand eight hundred thirty-six of them chose to answer the SHIM questionnaire (compliance of 48.9%). According to the SHIM scores, at least one out of three men (26.9%) suffered from ED (19%, 7%, and 1% had mild, moderate, and severe ED, respectively). ED was prevalent also among young adults: 22.1% of males under-40 had low SHIM scores (<21). Severity of ED correlated with age and diabetes mellitus.

Conclusion: In light of these results, we conclude that ED is a major health concern among young men as well. Incorporating questions regarding sexual health in a routine check-up may encourage more men to seek treatment, not only for ED, but also for underlying diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Treatment Outcome