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Objectives: Our purpose has been to investigate by an ad hoc questionnaire the knowledge of several aspects of male sexual dysfunction in a significant sample of men and women (largely not physicians) attending an International Health Care Exhibition, held in Italy.
Materials and methods: The survey took place during Exposanità, 2018 edition, aimed at medical and non-medical professionals. We devised as investigation tool an ad hoc anonymous questionnaire in two versions, one for each sex. Object of this report are questions addressing subject’s knowledge of prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED), ED causes, ED as early sign of coronary heart disease/myocardial infarction, available ED treatments and attitudes towards penile prosthesis, and reimbursement of ED treatments.
Results: As many as 1094 Convention attendees (495 men, 599 women) participated to the survey (about 4% of total attendees). Mean sample age was 40.5 years in men and 39.9 years in women. Forty-three percent of the sample worked in healthrelated professions, 5.9% being physicians. Respondents globally over-estimated the prevalence of ED. Both responding men and women rated psychologic and lifestyle factors as the most frequent ED causes. The majority of responders did not regard ED as a possible predictor of cardiovascular events. Oral pills resulted the most known ED treatment by both men (77.2%) and women (79.1%). Psychotherapy ranked as the second most known treatment approach. Other effective ED treatments (intracavernosal injections, vacuum erection device, penile prostheses) were known by a minority of men (22.2-27.9%) and women (19.2-20.2%). Roughly half of the sample (50.7% of men and 48.4% of women) were willing to choose (men) or to support (women) the penile prosthesis option in cases of severe ED; majority of both sexes (71.3% of men and 76.3% of women) expressed no resistances to the perspective of penile prosthesis use. Vast majority of men (80.3%) and women (80.4%) considered that coverage for ED treatments should be provided by the National Health System.
Conclusions: The outcomes of our survey show both an elevated prevalence of misconceptions on the role of organic factors in the etiology of ED, and ignorance of the implications of ED on cardiovascular health. Knowledge of available second level ED treatments resulted scanty. Nonetheless, when confronted with the most aggressive treatment, penile prosthesis, majority of both genders responders would undergo/support this surgery, should it be the only way to solve the erectile problem. In this perspective, population appears ready and overall keen to a treatment option that too often is not addressed by majority of the medical community when counseling men with severe ED not responsive to conservative approach.