An Italian study has highlighted the fact that one in four men seeking medical help for newly-developed erectile dysfunction (ED) was younger than 40 years, and nearly half of young men with the condition were diagnosed with severe ED.

The findings, which were published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, suggest that erectile dysfunction in young men may be more prevalent and more serious than previously thought, although the authors acknowledge that larger studies would be needed to shed more light on the issue.

The study, conducted at a single outpatient clinic, assessed the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of 439 men seeking medical help for newly-developed erectile dysfunction between January 2010 and June 2012.

Severe erectile dysfunction was found in 48.8% of younger patients and 40% of older patients while the rates of mild, mild-to-moderate, and moderate erectile dysfunction were not significantly different between the two groups.

”These findings, taken together with those of other studies showing the importance of ED as a potential ‘sentinel marker’ of major diseases, outline the importance of taking a comprehensive medical and sexual history and of performing a thorough physical examination in all men with erectile dysfunction, irrespective of their age, ” the study authors conclude.