Blog Erectile dysfunction in young men – is it possible?
Although most commonly associated with older men, the fact is that erectile dysfunction (ED) can affect men of all ages. A recent study from the University of Wisconsin found that just over a quarter (26%) of adult men under 40 years old experience ED in some form or another, while over half of this figure report experiencing ‘severe’ ED. 

However, what causes ED in younger men and what treatment options are available? In this blog we aim to answer both of these questions as we take a deep dive into the prevalence of erectile dysfunction in younger men.

Erectile dysfunction in young men

According to a 2017 study published in the Translational Andrology and Urology medical journal, the number of under 40s seeking medical attention for ED symptoms has drastically increased in recent years. However, what are the main causes of ED in younger men and why does this issue seem to be becoming more prevalent?

Causes of ED in young men

The fact is, the causes of ED in young men are very similar to those in older men, and can be broken down into three key categories. These are:

Physiological erectile dysfunction in young men

When it comes to the most common causes of ED in younger men, anxiety tops the list. From nervousness brought about by sexual inexperience to losing an erection while putting on a condom, one bad experience can lead to a negative spiral that can impact a young man’s confidence, and in turn, bring about ED symptoms. Additionally, depression, stress and anxiety caused by other aspects of a man’s life can also contribute to impotence, reducing an individual’s libido and denting their self-esteem. 

Although no scientific research has been published that conclusively shows a link, many experts have also suggested that there may be a connection between ED and pornography consumption. In an age where pornography and other adult content has never been easier to access, some researchers suggest that young men may be at risk of becoming desensitised to sexual imagery which creates unrealistic expectations, leading to physical intimacy and performace issues.

Physical causes of erectile dysfunction in young men

As a rule, physical causes of erectile dysfunction in young men can be split into three key categories. These are: 

  • Neurologic conditions

This can include congenital disorders such as epilepsy or multiple sclerosis, or conditions brought about by injury, such as spinal cord trauma. 

  • Endocrinologic disorders

This includes conditions like hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and congenital hypogonadism. 

  • Vascular conditions

This includes illnesses like hypertension, early coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Erectile dysfunction caused by drugs

ED can be caused by certain medications. Some prescription drugs, including certain antihistamines, beta blockers, diuretics, antidepressants, opioids and anti-androgens, as well as some drugs given to those going through chemotherapy, have been linked to ED. Perhaps more significant for younger men experiencing impotence, excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, and the use of recreational substances and illicit drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin have also been connected with ED.

Erectile dysfunction in young men: treatments options

If you are experiencing ED for the first time and it has lasted for more than a few weeks, you should book an appointment with your GP or seek advice from another medical professional. When it comes to younger men suffering with impotence, there are a wide range of treatments. However, it is important to discover the underlying cause of the issue before deciding on the best course of treatment. With this in mind, there are typically three types of treatment offered to young men experiencing ED. These are:  

  • Medication

A number of medications may be prescribed to treat young men experiencing ED. These include sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil. These drugs work by increasing blood flow to the penis, allowing blood to fill the erectile tissue more efficiently, ultimately helping the user to achieve and maintain an erection. 

While these medications are only available on prescription, if you want the convenience of ordering online, you can complete a consultation on our website. When you do this, one of our independent General Pharmaceutical Council-registered prescribers here at Access Doctor will review your situation. If your request is approved, we will then deliver your medication quickly and discreetly to your home. 

  • Psychological treatment

Counselling or therapy sessions can help to deal with ED caused by anxiety, stress and/or depression. Additionally, couples’ therapy may be a solution if you believe your ED is caused by relationship stress or sexual performace anxiety. In some situations, psychological treatment may also be paired with medication in the short term. 

  • Lifestyle changes

As discussed above, smoking, drug-use and excessive alcohol consumption can all contribute to ED as a result of a narrowing of blood vessels, as can obesity and a lack of exercise. For this reason, aiming to live as healthy of a lifestyle as possible should be a priority for young men experiencing ED for the first time.

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