Erectile dysfunction (ED): causes and age

Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is a condition in which a man is unable to achieve or sustain an erection during sexual performance. Symptoms may also include reduced sexual desire or libido.

Impotence and Age

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common type of male sexual dysfunction, particularly in older men. As a man ages, testosterone decreases, causing changes in his sexuality. It is estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 will have it to some degree.

These kinds of issues can happen at any time, to any man mainly because of fatigue, stress, relationship issues, or even alcohol consumption. However, if the condition lasts for more than a few weeks or months, your doctor is likely to diagnose it as true ED and will recommend treatments.

Certain medical conditions can also result in impotence. Some people have trouble speaking with their doctors about sex. But if you have ED, you should tell your doctor. ED can be a sign of health problems. It may mean your blood vessels are clogged. It may mean you have nerve damage from diabetes. If you don’t see your doctor, these problems will go untreated.

Your doctor can offer several new treatments for ED. For many men, the answer is as simple as taking a pill (Cialis, Levitra, Viagra, or other meds). Standard treatments include pharmaceutical medications, pumps, implants, and surgery, but many men prefer natural options.

Getting more exercise, losing weight, or stopping smoking may also help.

Impotence Causes

Several different factors can increase your risk of ED. Since attaining an erection involves the brain, hormones, muscles, and blood vessels, a problem with any of these can block the normal functioning of the penis.

According to the BBC Health, around 70 percent of impotence cases have medical causes and around 30 percent have psychological causes (BBC, 2012). Psychological and medical causes combined are responsible for the majority of cases.

Physical causes of erectile dysfunction include:

  • cardiovascular disease – a disease of the heart or blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • diabetes – a condition that is caused by too much sugar (glucose) in the blood. This can affect both the blood supply and the nerve endings in your penis, so it is also a neurogenic condition
  • hormonal problems
  • surgery or injury, pelvic trauma
  • Thyroid problems
  • Kidney issues
  • Nerve damage
  • Heavy smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome, a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist, and high cholesterol
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Low testosterone
  • Peyronie’s disease, development of scar tissue inside the penis
  • Overconsumption of alcohol

Psychological causes of ED include:

  • relationship problems
  • fatigue
  • stress
  • depression – feelings of extreme sadness that last for a long time
  • anxiety – a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear


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