As many as one in four patients newly diagnosed with erectile dysfunction are under 40. Popular media typically shows this as being an older man’s problem, but erectile dysfunction in younger men is far more common than many people realize.
Why does erectile dysfunction in younger men happen, and how can you treat it? In this guide, we’ll take a look at what you need to know about ED in young men. Whether you struggle with ED, know someone who does, or is just curious, read on to learn more!
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
We all know what erectile dysfunction means in terms of symptoms. But what is the underlying cause of those unfortunate results?
Having trouble getting or maintaining an erection from time to time is normal. It’s only when it starts to happen chronically that it becomes a medical issue. ED happens because not enough blood can get to the penis to create and maintain an erection.
The erection requires the nerves, brain, hormones, circulatory system, and muscles to all sync up. The results may look simple, but the process is actually fairly complicated.
This complex process can make it hard to trace the cause of ED because there are multiple places where the process can break down. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of ED in young men.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction in Younger Men?
Here are a few of the ways the process of getting an erection can get interrupted along any step.
First, the nerves can be the issue behind ED in younger men. Nerve damage can often cause sexual problems that wouldn’t otherwise be there.
Many doctors don’t focus on nerve damage when trying to assess the causes of ED. However, recent research suggests that they should pay closer attention to this as a possible cause of the problem.
The brain plays a big role in sex and sexuality, so it makes sense that it could also be an underlying cause of ED. In many young men, the reasons for erectile dysfunction are actually psychological, not physical.
For example, chronic mental health issues like depression or anxiety often cause ED. High-stress levels can also cause erectile dysfunction. For example, a young man with no prior sexual issues may suddenly find himself with ED after he starts a new, stressful job.
Relationship problems can also be a source of psychological erectile dysfunction. The man might feel nervous due to relationship factors, which makes it hard to keep an erection going. He might also feel anxiety or pressure over issues like performing well enough or getting a partner pregnant. All of these stressors can manifest as ED.
Sometimes, hormonal issues are the root of erectile dysfunction in young men. Low testosterone and other hormonal disorders can play a role. Too much prolactin, or low or high levels of thyroid hormones, can also factor in.
Young men using steroids for athletic reasons often run into ED as an unpleasant side effect. Steroids interrupt the normal functioning of hormones, which can result in ED.
The penis needs enough blood to get and sustain an erection. If blood flow isn’t working properly, the circulatory system may be to blame for erectile dysfunction.
For example, a young man with clogged arteries or high blood pressure may also have ED. That’s why obesity is often linked to erectile dysfunction, even in young men.
Diabetes can also affect the blood’s ability to get to the penis effectively. When blood glucose levels get too high, the blood vessels may become damaged, so they can no longer supply blood where it’s needed.
There’s a connection between heart disease and erectile dysfunction, but this may be good news for young men. If they can lose weight or lower their blood pressure, the ED may go away along with the other dangerous symptoms they experience.
Finally, muscular problems such as physical injuries are a less common source of erectile dysfunction in young men. For example, if starting sexual intercourse causes muscular pain due to an injury site, keeping an erection might become impossible.
Treatment for ED in Young Men
With so many different possible causes, how can doctors treat ED in younger men?
Luckily, having lots of causes also means there are lots of treatment options. Here are a few of the ways to target the root of this issue.
Medication is a common treatment for ED. Many people are familiar with ED-specific medications, such as Cialis and Viagra. But other medications, like anti-depressants, can help depending on the situation.
Sometimes, tackling ED is as simple as making the right lifestyle changes.
Many young men find that reducing stress or working out relationship problems is enough to fix their erectile dysfunction. Losing weight and reducing or quitting substances can also make a big difference.
Exercise, dietary changes, and more might all help. It’s best to talk to a medical professional before you try to self-treat ED with lifestyle changes, though.
In rare but extreme cases, surgery might be the best way to treat erectile dysfunction in younger men. During surgery, doctors will implant a prosthesis to the penis. There is a couple of different prosthesis option, but this option should only be used after other methods didn’t work.
For men feeling at a loss for how to treat ED, and not wanting the side effects of medications or surgery, new innovative treatments may help.
Some of those treatments include natural remedies and new therapies such as Gainswave therapy. Gainswave therapy uses high-frequency sound waves, which promote penile cell growth and blood vessel growth to naturally combat ED.
Do You Need Professional Erectile Dysfunction Treatment?
Although your primary care provider can start directing you toward treatment, seeing an experienced professional is the best way to treat erectile dysfunction in younger men. These specialists can provide the answers you or someone close to you are desperately seeking.
ED in younger men can almost always be successfully treated. Ready to take control of ED? Contact us today to get started!