Introduction: Few population-based studies in erectile dysfunction (ED) included subjects less than 40 years old and analyzed the several factors and consequences potentially associated with this condition.
Aim: Evaluation of the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) and associated factors in a sample of Brazilian men aged 18 to 40 years old.
Methods: Cross-sectional study in which subjects were contacted in public places of 18 major Brazilian cities and interviewed using an anonymous questionnaire. Survey data were submitted to chi-squared, student's t-test and logistic regression analyses.
Main outcome measures: The data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire with 87 questions about sociodemographic variables, general health, habits and lifestyle-related factors, sexual behavior and sexual difficulties, including ED which was assessed by a single question.
Results: Prevalence of ED in 1,947 men was 35.0% (73.7% mild, 26.3% moderate/complete). Greater frequency of ED was seen in subjects that never had information about sex, experienced difficulties in the beginning of sexual life and have never masturbated. ED was associated to lower level of education, but not to race, sexual orientation, employment or marital status. Also, no association was found between ED and smoking, alcoholism, obesity, sedentary life, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, depression or anxiety. ED caused negative impact in men's self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, work and leisure activities, and in sexual life satisfaction. Less than 10% of men with ED had received medical treatment for this problem.
Conclusions: Prevalence of ED in this young population was high, mostly of mild severity. Low education and psychosocial problems were associated to ED and, due probably to the sample subjects' young age, no association was found with organic problems. Measures in the fields of education and psychosocial difficulties prevention would have a positive impact in the control of erectile dysfunction in the young population.