Erectile dysfunction age
Erection problems are something that every man has to deal with. Often, there is no reason to panic and the problems go away by themselves. Erection problems can occur at any age, although the likelihood of erectile dysfunction increases as men get older.
Erectile dysfunction occurs at any age
Every adult man has suffered from a flaccid penis at one time or another. This is usually a temporary problem, for example due to excessive alcohol consumption. Fatigue can also put a halt to bedroom activities for a while. Not a problem; in most cases, the erectile function restores itself automatically.
Sometimes, however, the symptoms persist. If this happens consistently, it can stand in the way of a satisfying sex life. In that case, we refer to it as an erectile problem, or erectile dysfunction.
Causes of erectile dysfunction in 30s
Several factors can play a role in the development of erectile dysfunction. Age is one of them. But there are also other psychological and physical problems that – even when you're still young - can contribute to impotence.
Higher chance of erection problems at 50 and older
The idea that erectile dysfunction is solely age-related is therefore a myth. But it is true that the older a man is, the greater the chance of erectile dysfunction. Not a fun fact, but a logical one: as the body ages, all kinds of processes become more and more difficult. This includes getting an erection. This is mainly because the veins become less flexible at an older age. For example, due to atherosclerosis or a disease such as diabetes.
Why the condition of the veins is important
When getting an erection, the blood supply to the penis plays an important role. Under the influence of sexual stimulation, the blood vessels in the penis are opened wide. The extra incoming blood is sent to the corpora cavernosa, causing the penis to swell and harden. The blood temporarily does not drain away, so the erection is maintained as long as the sexual stimulation persists.
If the blood vessels are less elastic, they are less likely to dilate. This means less blood can be transported to the penis. The result is that the erection feels less firm and the penis becomes less erect (or not at all). The blood also flows out of the corpora cavernosa faster. The erection therefore lasts less long.
Physical risk factors for erectile dysfunction
Decreased blood supply is one of the main causes of impotence. But there are other physical risk factors for erectile dysfunction. Here is a list of the most important ones:
- Atherosclerosis. This causes the blood vessels to constrict and there is not enough blood flowing to the penis for an erection;
- High cholesterol level / high blood pressure. These conditions increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
- Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the flexibility of the blood vessels. It also increases the risk of damage to the nerve pathways involved in the erection process;
- Decreased testosterone production. A shortage of testosterone reduces sex drive. Testosterone production decreases with age;
- Slow-acting thyroid gland. This condition can also lead to reduced libido;
- Obesity. Severe obesity (BMI > 30) is four times more likely to lead to erectile dysfunction than being a healthy weight;
- Smoking, alcohol or drug use. In the long run, smoking, alcohol and drugs can damage the blood vessels, reducing erectile function. Drugs and alcohol themselves can also reduce sex drive;
- Medication. Medicines that can cause erection problems include antidepressants and beta-blockers.
Physical ailments are more common in older people. That explains why age plays a major role in erectile dysfunction.
More chance of erectile dysfunction at 40 and above
Of course, it's not like you wake up on your fortieth or fiftieth birthday unable to get an erection. The process happens very gradually. Viagra manufacturer Pfizer gives the following figures about the average age of men with erectile dysfunction:
- Between 20-40 years of age: 5% of men have erectile dysfunction
- Between 40-70 years of age: 14% of men have erectile dysfunction
- Between 70-80 years of age: 42% of men have erectile dysfunction
The average age for erectile dysfunction is therefore quite high.
Erectile dysfunction at a young age: psychological factors
Erectile problems at a younger age often have other causes. Of course, it does sometimes happen that someone aged twenty or thirty cannot get an erection due to physical problems. But in many cases, psychological factors play a role for this age group. Here are the most important factors:
- Pressure to perform;
- Fear of failure;
- Insecurity about the body in general or the penis in particular;
- Communication problems with the partner and/or relationship problems;
- Upbringing: growing up thinking that sex is bad or dirty;
- Misconceptions, such as: a man always wants to have sex and sex without coitus is not real sex;
- Depression or burnout.
Is treatment of erectile dysfunction age-related?
Erectile dysfunction is common. Luckily, there's a lot that can be done, whether you're young or old. A visit to the doctor or GP is always advisable. A doctor can investigate where the erection problems come from and may refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist, a psychologist or a sexologist.
Doctors may also prescribe erection medications. Even if you have erectile problems at a younger age. These erection pills do not eliminate the cause of the impotence. However, they can ensure that erectile function (temporarily) recovers so that you can simply have sex again.
How to fix erectile dysfunction at a young age
Of course, prevention is always better than cure. With a modified lifestyle, you can prevent erection problems to a large extent. Healthy eating, more exercise and sufficient sleep and relaxation are important. If you're too heavy, try losing weight. Also keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure. This keeps you fit and allows you to enjoy a good erection for longer without any aids. Even at a later age!