Glossary of Terms Related to Erectile Dysfunction

Atherosclerosis: Also called hardening of the arteries; fatty substances form a deposit of plaque on the inner lining of arterial walls.

Bladder: The sac or organ that holds urine.

Cancer: A disease that occurs when abnormal cells in a part(s) of the body divide and grow out of control.

Chemotherapy: Drugs used to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.

Cialis®: An oral medication used to treat erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis. The brand name of the drug tadalafil.

Clinical trial: The scientific investigation of a new medical treatment, drug or device.

Corpora cavernosa: Two chambers in the penis that run the length of the organ and are filled with spongy tissue.

Depression: A disorder characterized by feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, helplessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.

Diagnosis: The process by which a doctor determines what disease a patient has by studying the patient's symptoms and medical history, and analyzing any blood tests and scans performed during a physical exam.

Ejaculation: The discharge of semen from the penis during sexual climax (orgasm).

Erectile dysfunction: The inability to achieve or sustain an erection satisfactory for sexual activity.

Erection: A state in which the penis fills with blood and becomes rigid.

Glans: The head of the penis.

Hormones: Chemicals that stimulate or regulate the activity of cells or organs in the body.

Impotence: Also called erectile dysfunction; the inability to achieve an erection that is satisfactory for sexual intercourse.
Injection therapy or penile injection: A treatment for erectile dysfunction in which a medicine is injected directly into the penis.

Intraurethral suppository: A treatment for erectile dysfunction in which a medicine, in suppository form, is inserted into the urethra to increase blood flow to the penis.

Levitra®: An oral medication used to treat erectile dysfunction and increase blood flow to the penis. The brand name of the drug vardenafil.
Libido: A person's sex drive.

Neurological disorders: Disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, or muscles.

Orgasm: Sexual climax.

Penile implant: A penile prosthetic device that is surgically placed in the penis to allow a man to achieve an erection; surgical alternative to other ED treatment options.

Peyronie's disease: A condition in which a plaque, or hard lump, forms in the penis - The hardened plaque reduces flexibility, causing pain and forcing the penis to bend or arc during erection.

Premature ejaculation: Ejaculation that occurs before orgasm, usually before or soon after penetration.

Priapism: A persistent, often painful erection that can last from several hours to a few days.

Prostate cancer: The abnormal growth of cells in the prostate; the most common form of cancer in men in the U.S.

Prosthesis: An artificial replacement of a part of the body.

Scrotum: The sac of skin that surrounds the testicles.

Semen: The fluid containing sperm (the male reproductive cells) that is present in ejaculate.
Seminal vesicles: The sac-like pouches that attach to the vas deferens near the base of the urinary bladder - The seminal vesicles produce a sugar-rich fluid called fructose that provides sperm with a source of energy that helps sperm move. The fluid of the seminal vesicles makes up most of the volume of a man's ejaculatory fluid, or ejaculate.

Sex therapy: Counseling for sexual disorders.

Shaft: The long, slender cylinders of tissue inside the penis that contain spongy tissue and expand to produce erections.

Sperm: The male reproductive cells.

Suppository: A type of medicine designed to melt at body temperature within the body.

Testicles: Part of the male reproductive system, located inside the scrotum, that make the male hormones, including testosterone, and produce sperm.

Testosterone: The male hormone that is essential for sperm production and the development of male characteristics, including muscle mass and strength, fat distribution, bone mass, and sex drive.

Testosterone replacement therapy: Treatment in which the blood testosterone level is returned to the normal range based on the man's age through the administration of the hormone by implantation under the skin, by mouth, with patches or by injection.

Urethra: The tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside of the body.

Urologist: A doctor who is specially trained to treat problems of the male and female urinary system, and the male sex organs.

Vacuum erection device: A device in which pumped air out of a cylinder creates a vacuum, drawing blood into the shaft of the penis and causing it to swell and become erect.

Vas deferens: The vas deferens transports mature sperm to the urethra in preparation for ejaculation.

Vascular disease: A disease of the blood vessels.

Viagra®: Oral medication used to treat erectile dysfunction and increase blood flow to the penis.  The brand name of the medicine sildenafil.

Source: The Cleveland Clinic