In the previous blog post, I discussed what erectile dysfunction is and some of the common effects are and who it effects. Usually when there is a discussion about ED, the first thought is an older man in 50's to late 70's. However, research has shown that men in their 40's or younger can experience ED.
What's the Relationship Between Age and Erectile Dysfunction?
One popular misconception about erectile dysfunction is that it only affects older men. While it's true that there is a correlation with age and increased odds of experiencing ED, erectile dysfunction can happen to men of all ages.
Most of the information that we have about how age affects men is based off of the the large Massachusetts Male Aging Study.
However, ED can also occur among younger people. One 2013 study found that 1 in 4 men seeking their first treatment for ED was under 40 years old. Researchers observed a stronger correlation between smoking, drug use, and ED in these men when compared with older men. This suggests that lifestyle choices are an important factor for ED in younger men.
Why Do Young Men Have Erectile Dysfunction?
The answer to this question is still being debated, but there are a few theories.
As covered earlier, erectile dysfunction very clearly has a connection to age. However, there seems to be a growing trend of men under 40 experiencing ED.
One study demonstrated that the percentage of men under 40 with erectile dysfunction tripled from 2010 to 2015. The study estimates eight percent of men in their 20s and 11 percent of men in their 30s have some form of erectile dysfunction.
What might be even more bizarre is the unexpected severity of their erectile dysfunction. Another study found that of the 439 participants experiencing erectile dysfunction for the first time, 114 (26 percent) were under the age of 40. While the frequency is already a little higher than average, the severity discrepancy is what really makes this study interesting.
Despite younger men having a lower body mass index (BMI) on average, higher levels of testosterone, and less likelihood of chronic medical conditions or illnesses, nearly half of them (48.8 percent) experienced severe erectile dysfunction compared to only 40 percent of men over 40.
There is yet to be any definitive conclusions about why younger men experience severe erectile dysfunction. It’s much more unlikely that it's the result of heart conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
However, there are a few ideas as to what might be causing the issue:
Drug use and smoking are much higher in younger men. Smoking is considered to be the leading cause of erectile dysfunction for men under 40.
Depression can cause erectile dysfunction on its own, but antidepressants have a well documented association with causing various sexual dysfunctions, including erectile dysfunction.
Younger generations are thought to have an unhealthy relationship with porn.
Overconsumption of porn could contribute to issues such as erectile dysfunction.
A lack of sexual experience could lead to performance anxiety. It could also result in problems using condoms that might have a negative impact on erections.
Other theories include sedentary lifestyle, stress, and heavy consumption of alcohol.
Men what are you eating? Are you depressed? What is your relationship like with your partner? Are you a smoker?
I ask that you take time to reflect on your diet and the health of your relationship. Record what you eat daily. Who are you giving your energy to or sharing your energy with? Is that person contributing to the relationship or not? Are you truly happy with the person you are with?
Next week, the focus will be on older men and erectile dysfunction and the emotional effects of erectile dysfunction.