Most people think erectile dysfunction (ED) only affects older men. After all, almost all of the commercials we see about its treatment feature a retired man with grey hair. In reality, research shows that men in their 30s and 40s can experience ED. In fact, a study done by the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed 26% of adult men under 40 admitted to struggling with ED symptoms.
However, since most ED advertisements focus on older audiences, many younger men may feel embarrassed or confused about their symptoms – but they shouldn’t. Here is a look at common contributing factors to ED in younger men, and what they can do to combat it.
What Causes ED in Young Men?
Like men in their 50s, 60s, or 70s, different underlying health factors can result in ED. Typically, they are associated with a man’s physical state, psychological health, or the medications he may be taking.
A man’s overall physical health can impact his ability to achieve or maintain an erection regardless of age. Common physical conditions that cause ED include cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, metabolic issues, or damage to the reproductive organs. For younger men, hormonal disorders such as low testosterone or increased prolactin production in the pituitary gland can contribute to ED. Likewise, abnormal thyroid levels can impact erectile functioning.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are also major circumstances that can be directly linked to ED. While these conditions don’t discriminate by age, younger men generally have different stress factors that could result in poor psychological health. Many are trying to stabilize their careers, getting married, or raising children, while their older counterparts are typically entering a more relaxed stage in their life.
Certain medications have a negative impact on men’s erectile health, many of which are used commonly by younger men. All of the medications below have been shown to be capable of causing ED symptoms.
- Antihistamines and blood pressure medications
- Non-prescribed/illicit drugs like opioids or nitrates
- Steroids used to build muscle mass because these drugs affect hormone levels
What Can Young Men do to Decrease Their Chances of ED?No matter how old a man may be, choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle can prevent unwanted conditions like ED. Men can improve their health in several ways, including:
- Watching their weight
- Reducing the intake of alcohol
- Avoiding harmful drugs
- Maintaining a healthy blood pressure
- Handling stress or other psychological issues
- Monitoring their medications
- Regularly visiting their physician