A study investigating the prevalence of erectile dysfunctional in a primary health care clinic in KwaZulu-Natal. Centre : Addington Hospital - Primary Health Care Clinic.
Introduction: Erectile dysfunction, the persistent inability to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual performance, is a common problem. Aim: To determine the prevalence of erectile dysfunction among men attending a primary health care clinic in Kwazulu-Natal and to determine the association between erectile dysfunction and age, smoking, economic status and co-morbid conditions. Method: An analytic, quantitative, cross-sectional study was conducted on a group of men attending the Primary Health Care clinic at Addington Hospital. The information was obtained using a structured questionnaire (IIEF15) which had already being validated. The questionnaire was self administered at the time of attending the clinic. Statistical analyses using Pearson Chi square, Mann Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests determined the statistical significance of the results. Results: A total of 1300 randomly selected men participated in the study of which 803 were eligible for analysis. The overall prevalence rate for erectile dysfunction was 64.9% (621) with 14.6% (117) having mild erectile dysfunction, 19.9% (160) moderate erectile dysfunction and 30.4% (244) severe erectile dysfunction. There was a strong association between erectile dysfunction and age, economic status and co-morbid conditions. (p<0.01) Discussion: The prevalence of erectile dysfunction in the urban primary health clinic was high. The results indicate that the condition is a common problem and that primary care physicians need to become aware of the condition. The awareness will result in improved assessment and offer of appropriate treatment that will only enhance the quality of life of patients. Furthermore, the strong association of erectile dysfunction with co-morbid conditions will serve as a predictor for undiagnosed medical conditions which would have otherwise not being detected. Conclusion: The prevalence of erectile dysfunction in a primary health centre was high and there is a statistically significant association with co-morbid conditions. Further epidemiological studies in the general population focussing on the incidence of erectile dysfunction are recommended.