Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common sexual disorder experienced by men. It refers to the continued inability to achieve or maintain an erection for long enough to have satisfactory sexual intercourse.
ED affects more than just the physical well-being of men. It also affects their emotional and psychological health and can knock their confidence and self-esteem, and impact relationships. But although it’s such a common condition, it’s often misunderstood or thought of as something that only happens to men over a certain age.
The truth is, ED can occur at any age, but its prevalence and causes vary across age groups. Prevalence can be hard to measure due to the variation in screening tools and questionnaires used by researchers. However, there’s still valuable information that we can learn from current research on the prevalence of ED in different age groups.
Prevalence of ED In Young Men
Studies suggest that ED is more common among younger men than people think.
According to research by the National Library of Medicine, one newly diagnosed ED patient out of four is under the age of 40. From their samples, the study found that 26% of men under 40 had been newly diagnosed with ED.
Almost half of these men had a severe ED. Many of the young men diagnosed with an ED also smoked or used illegal substances.
However, of young men that were healthy and fit, only 14% of them complained of an ED.
Several factors contribute to ED in younger men, the most common being psychological factors such as:
- Anxiety around sexual performance
- Relationship issues
Treating ED In Younger Men
Because the most common cause of ED in younger men is psychological, ED can often be reversed in this age bracket.
Lifestyle changes and natural remedies are the best and should be the first course of action. Eating a nutrient-dense diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing other harmful substances may help with ED in younger men.
If the cause is performance anxiety, then communicating with your partner or a mental health professional is essential.
Improving the quality of sleep is another natural remedy that can be effective in treating ED in younger men.
If the ED is caused by a larger cardiovascular or health issue, then it may not so easily be reversible and you should talk with a doctor if you experience symptoms for more than a few weeks.
The Prevalence Of ED In Older Men
While ED can occur at any age, it’s more common among older men. The percentage of men with ED increases as they age due to factors such as changes in testosterone levels and circulation problems.
A study found that the prevalence of ED for men that were between 50 and 70 years old was 67%. The main causes for long-lasting cases of ED were physical.
Erections involve the blood vessels, and conditions that block the blood flow to the penis are the most common causes of ED in older men. Heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes can all lead to ED and are more common in older men. A faulty vein that drains blood too quickly from the penis can also cause an ED.
Changes in testosterone levels with age are another common cause of ED in older men.
The percentage of ED in men aged 75 years or older increases to 89%. The severity of the ED also increases by 18% for each 1-year age increment.
Treatment For Older Men
Medications such as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis are often prescribed to treat ED in older men. The pills are taken before sex and they work to increase the blood flow to the penis, which helps with achieving and maintaining an erection once sexually aroused.
Healthcare professionals may also prescribe testosterone if the levels of this hormone are low. However, this won’t cure an ED if it’s the result of nerve or circulation problems.
Like with younger men, lifestyle changes can also help with treating ED in older men. Losing weight and exercising regularly, quitting smoking, alcohol, and other harmful substances all go a long way in treating the dysfunction.
If ED is caused by psychological problems such as depression or relationship issues, then counselling is a good course of action.
A Talking Topic
ED is prevalent in men of all age brackets, but the risk of developing severe ED increases exponentially with advancing age. It’s a normal issue to experience, and it happens to most men at some stage or another.
Fostering open discussions about this topic and promoting preventative measures are necessary to contribute to the improvement of men’s sexual health and well-being across all age groups. While ED may be incredibly common, it’s still not often talked about, and changing this would make it easier to treat, both physically and mentally.