Thinking about pathomechanisms and current treatment of erectile dysfunction—“The Stanley Beamish Problem.” Review, recommendations, and proposals

Wolf D. Beecken, Max Kersting, Wilko Kunert, Giordano Blume, Nico Bacharidis, Deborah S. Cohen, Husain Shabeeh, Mark S. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Up to 50% of all men over 50 years of age suffer from erectile dysfunction. Since the late 1990s erectile dysfunction has been treated mostly with phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (PDE5I). Over the past 20 years, numerous scientific findings on the development of erectile dysfunction have been collected, which have so far received little attention in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Objectives: The objectives of this study were to review the existing medical literature on erectile dysfunction regarding physiology, pathophysiology, and especially therapeutic options beyond treatment with PDE5I and to enable a more effective and especially sustainable treatment for erectile dysfunction. Methods: A literature review was performed by using PubMed from 1985 to 2020 regarding the physiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of erectile dysfunction. Results: Since the end of the 1990s an enormous amount of knowledge has been gained about the physiology/pathophysiology of erection/erectile dysfunction. Based on these findings, numerous physical, drug, and holistic therapeutic options (beyond the application of PDE5I) have been developed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. However, these are still relatively rarely used in the therapeutic concept of erectile dysfunction today. Conclusion: Based on scientific findings of the last 20 years, there are numerous therapeutic approaches, including lifestyle modification, specific pelvic floor exercises, shock wave treatment, and the application of different supplements. The long-term treatment of erectile dysfunction should now go beyond the purely symptomatic use of PDE5I. W-D Beecken, M Kersting, W Kunert, et al. Thinking About Pathomechanisms and Current Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction—“The Stanley Beamish Problem.” Review, Recommendations, and Proposals. Sex Med Rev 2021;9:445–463.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-463
Number of pages19
JournalSexual Medicine Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Pathophysiology
  • Physiology
  • Treatment Concepts


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