By James Smolev, MD
If you think erectile dysfunction (ED) is something that only happens to older men, think again. A new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine shows that one in four men who sought medical attention for ED was actually under the age of 40. Even more surprising was that almost half of the young men (48%) suffered from severe ED, compared to 40% of men older than 40 years.
Because ED is often a marker of other underlying medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, this study raises a red flag. In many cases of ED in younger men, loss of erectile function can be attributed to psychological causes such as anxiety, depression or extreme stress. Sometimes, excessive use of alcohol, illicit drugs and smoking play a part in a younger man’s ED. In other cases, factors such as sleep apnea, obesity and even low testosterone have contributed to ED symptoms in men younger than 40. All of these conditions can be treated and monitored and, in the majority of cases, these men return to normal erectile function without major ED interventions that older men typically receive (e.g. oral medication, injections, vacuum devices and penile implants).
This study sheds some new light on the need to carefully consider vascular disease and other medical conditions as main factors in men under 40 developing ED. Men who are seen by an ED specialist at Chesapeake Urology’s Erectile Dysfunction program are carefully and thoroughly evaluated for underlying medical conditions that can cause ED. A complete medical history and blood work is part of our comprehensive assessment to get to the bottom of the cause of your ED. This study reinforces the importance of screening all men, regardless of age, for such medical conditions as vascular disease and diabetes to ensure that any condition is treated as early as possible for the best health outcomes.
Any man experiencing ED should be seen by a urologist. Learn more about ED and how Chesapeake Urology’s comprehensive ED program can help virtually all men return to their normal, sexual selves by clicking here.