5 Common Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

The risk for erectile dysfunction increases as men age, but the condition isn't inevitable.

The risk for erectile dysfunction (ED) increases as men age, but the condition isn’t inevitable.

Around 22% of men older than 60 years and about 30% of men older than 70 years have ED, according to a urologist with Texas A&M University. Aside from age, the following 5 factors can increase a man’s odds of developing ED.

1. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions such as heart disease could be the cause of ED. However, health care providers should keep in mind that ED symptoms may present before heart disease-related symptoms.

For example, atherosclerosis is the most common cause of ED, and it can serve as a warning sign for events like stroke or heart attack. Diabetes, chronic kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, and Peyronie’s disease are some other medical conditions that can increase the risk for ED.

2. Medications

Antidepressants, antihistamines, and blood pressure medications may exacerbate ED symptoms, especially if they are taken regularly for extended periods of time. These drugs may affect hormones, nerves, or blood circulation, which can all contribute to and increase the risk for ED.

The Texas A&M urologist advised patients to consult a physician if they believe that their medications are the root of the cause of their ED.

3. Emotional Distress

Relationship problems can cause stress, which can lead to ED. In addition, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, guilt, and fear of sexual failure may contribute to an increased risk of ED.

4. Lifestyle

There are several modifiable factors that patients can change to prevent or help treat ED.

Men who are overweight, smokers, alcoholics, or substance abusers are more likely to experience ED. Diet can also influence and reduce ED risk.

Pharmacists can recommend consuming foods high in flavonoids, such as blueberries, apples, grapefruit, bell peppers, celery, strawberries, and black and green tea. Studies have shown that consuming more flavonoid-rich foods and drinks can also help men smoke less, drink less, and exercise more.

5. Physical Injury

Exercise is important for all men, but injuring the lower half of the body may cause ED.

While some men have expressed concern about a link between cycling and ED, a study published in the Journal of Men’s Health did not find any association between the 2. The study also found no link between infertility and cycling.