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What's to know about erectile dysfunction?

By: Medically reviewed by Alana Biggers, MD, MPH on March 6, 2017 — Written by Jenna Fletcher
Source: Medical News Today
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Most men will experience problems getting or keeping an erection at some point during adulthood, but this is not always caused by a medical problem. However, some men do develop a medical condition called erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition that occurs when the penis does not receive enough blood to produce an erection that is capable of having sexual intercourse. For men with ED, this happens repeatedly and affects a man’s ability to sustain an active sex life.

While erectile problems are widely thought to be an older man’s issue, ED can affect younger men as well. It can be both frustrating and embarrassing for a man to admit to having ED. Few young men, especially those under the age of 40, want to acknowledge that they may have it.

Although ED is not as common in young men, it can affect about 25 percent of men under the age of 40. However, only about 5 percent of all men under 40 have complete ED.

The causes of ED widely vary and can be caused by psychological, neurological, or lifestyle issues. ER can also be the result of side effects of particular medications.
Erectile dysfunction may be caused by obesity, a poor diet, a lack of exercise, or smoking.

All men who experience symptoms of ED should talk to their doctor to identify the probable cause and to determine the best course of action in terms of treatment.

Some of the causes for ED in young men include:

performance anxiety when the man is too nervous to sustain an erection
depression, schizophrenia, and other psychological disorders
penile abnormalities, such as foreskin problems or curvature
spinal cord injuries
microvascular disease from diabetes
nerve injuries
hypogonadism, a condition where the body does not produce enough sexual hormones
certain medications including some antidepressants
multiple sclerosis

Additionally, some young men might experience ED as result of factors that they have more control over.15

For example, young men can suffer from ED due to:

poor diet
lack of exercise
excessive drinking
relationship stress

If ED is caused by any of these lifestyle factors, it may be possible for men to reduce or eliminate the symptoms through changes to their lifestyle and diet.

However, even if a man thinks he knows the reason for his ED, he should see a doctor for a formal diagnosis and treatment. A doctor can also rule out any potentially harmful conditions that may cause ED.

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