A quarter of all men who see a doctor for erectile dysfunction (ED) is under the age of 40, a recent Italian study found. Of the almost 800 men who visited a medical clinic complaining of sexual problems, a little more than half had ED.
The authors divided these men into two age groups: those who were 40 or younger, and those older than 40. The average age of the younger group was 32 and the youngest patient was 17.
Other research backs up these findings – around 30 percent of men aged 40 or under are no strangers to erection problems, according to studies from Brazil and Europe.
Bad enough to need help
Erectile dysfunction is defined as having regular problems getting and keeping an erection to the point that it makes sexual intercourse difficult or impossible.
Though it’s true that erection problems become more common with age, there are definitely younger men out there who have ED that’s bad enough they feel they need medical help, this study showed. In fact, almost half of the younger men had severe ED, which was comparable to the group of men older than 40.
Physical and psychological
Erectile dysfunction can have physical causes. Smoking is bad for your erections as well as your lungs. And also poor cardiovascular health or diabetes – that’s is one of the reasons it’s important to visit a doctor if you regularly have erection problems.
Another reason to see the doctor is the impact ED can have on your wellbeing. Erection trouble can affect your self-confidence and the health of your relationship.
But the causes of ED aren’t only physical – there are psychological and relationship reasons such as stress or problems communicating with a partner that can lead to ED.
When it comes to younger men, it’s often psychological problems that are involved, since the physical health concerns that can cause ED tend to be more common in older men.
Many more men under age 40 smoked cigarettes or took illegal drugs in the study, and it’s possible that could play a role in ED in younger men, the authors say.