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Erectile Dysfunction at a Young Age: What Now?

Erectile Dysfunction at a Young Age: What Now?

Popular media and advertising make it seem like erectile dysfunction (ED) is an issue that only affects older men. While it’s true that your risk of ED increases as you age, it can strike at any age.

For American men in their 30s and 40s — even as young as their 20s — the rate of ED is on the rise. In fact, about one-quarter of all ED patients are under 40.  If you’re among the millions of men in the United States with ED, you’re probably wondering about your next steps. 

You don’t have to fear that your sex life is over. At Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, our board-certified providers offer personalized ED treatment to men of all ages.  

Keep reading to learn more about erectile dysfunction at a young age and your treatment options. 

What causes ED? 

While it’s normal to occasionally have trouble with erections, when you experience chronic difficulty getting or keeping an erection hard enough for sex, you’re diagnosed with ED. 

Because erections are the result of a complex interaction between many bodily systems, ED has several possible causes, including physical, emotional, and psychological issues. 

In most cases, ED first develops because of an issue related to your vascular system. Since erections rely on a strong flow of blood to your penis, anything affecting the health of your blood vessels can impact your ability to get or maintain an erection. 

That is why older men experience ED more often than younger men. As you age, your blood vessels weaken, and your risk of health conditions associated with your vascular system, like atherosclerosis and hypertension, increases. 

Problems with the nervous system can also trigger ED. Furthermore, low testosterone levels are linked to ED. That is because testosterone levels decline with age (a condition called andropause or “male menopause”).  

What factors are linked to ED in younger men?

Younger men can develop ED for the same reasons as older men, which may involve physical issues with blood vessels, hormone imbalances, problems with the nervous system, and psycho-emotional challenges. 

If you’re a younger man with an existing or new health condition, you have a higher risk of ED. That includes the following conditions:

Taking certain medications can also increase your risk of ED at a young age. For example, antidepressants and other mental health medications are associated with sexual dysfunction, including ED. So are recreational drugs, including tobacco and alcohol. 

For younger men, psycho-emotional challenges may also play a role in ED. If you’re experiencing relationship difficulties, issues with self-esteem, job-related problems, psychological trauma, or mental health challenges, your risk of ED increases. 

Are there treatments for younger men with ED?

Treating ED involves identifying the underlying cause of the condition. A Urological Associates, your provider discusses your medical history, current conditions, and mental health history and asks questions about your symptoms to discover the source of your ED. 

For some men, we may order imaging studies and additional tests to rule out other possible issues or confirm your diagnosis. Effective erectile dysfunction treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis. 

Our team has extensive experience helping younger men with ED, and we create an ED treatment plan to meet your unique needs and preferences. Depending on the cause of your ED, we may recommend: 

In cases of severe sexual dysfunction, our team may recommend surgical interventions to help you enjoy sex again. That may include a surgically placed semi-rigid rod or inflatable penile implant. This treatment is typically only considered if other treatments aren’t effective.  

If you’re a younger man with ED, we can help. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, today.

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