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Etiology of Ejaculation and Pathophysiology of Premature Ejaculation

Authors


Craig F. Donatucci, MD, Division of Urology, Duke University Medical Center, Trent Drive, Durham, NC 27710, USA. Tel: 919-684-2127; Fax: 919-684-7423; E-mail: donat001@mc.duke.edu

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Ejaculation is comprised of three stages of the male sexual response cycle, namely emission, ejection, and orgasm; however, in comparison with erection, which is a well-understood component of male sexual response, the pathophysiology of ejaculation has yet to be fully delineated. Premature ejaculation (PE), the most common sexual disorder in men, while believed to have a multifactorial etiology, is even less well understood.

Aim.  This article reviews the physiology of ejaculation, and the multifactorial pathophysiology of PE.

Methods.  The Sexual Medicine Society of North America hosted a State of the Art Conference on Premature Ejaculation on June 24–26, 2005 in collaboration with the University of South Florida. The purpose was to have an open exchange of contemporary research and clinical information on PE. There were 16 invited presenters and discussants; the group focused on several educational objectives.

Main Outcome Measure.  Data were obtained by extensive examination of published peer-reviewed literature.

Results.  Evidence supports that biologic mechanisms associated with neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, Gamma-amino-butyric acid, and nitric oxide (NO) as well as the hormone estrogen play central roles in ejaculation, and subsequently may mediate PE. There is also emerging evidence to show that hyperthyroidism may be a causal factor in PE. Recent data also suggest that psychogenic factors include high level of any experience by some men with PE.

Conclusions.  The pathophysiology of both lifelong and acquired PE appears to be both neurobiogenic and psychogenic. While psychogenic factors appear to be contributory to PE, pharmacologic intervention of PE can modify intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT), which suggests that IELT is a biological variable, and is likely biologically dependent upon neurotransmitters and hormones. Donatucci CF. Etiology of ejaculation and pathophysiology of premature ejaculation. J Sex Med 2006;3(suppl 4):303–308.

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