Erectile dysfunction has become a common condition in men over the age of 40. Nearly half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 are expected to experience impotence-related difficulty at some point as they age. However, this condition has also become more evident in young men, many of whom find it difficult to speak to their partners or doctors because of social stigmas. These stigmas largely spring from the fact that many people falsely identify erectile dysfunction as being an occurrence that is only experienced with age.
The reason for this is partly accurate in the sense that a large cause of impotence is ageing (as testosterone levels decrease), but studies negate this myth because they suggest that nearly 15% of men will suffer from impotence before the age of 40. Even teenagers have experienced some form of erectile dysfunction during their lifetimes.
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Unlike older men, certain health conditions that could cause erectile dysfunction may not be relevant in younger men. These will predominantly be related to physical afflictions, such as disease or neurogenic disorders like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, all of which are more common as men age. However, the majority of the time during which erectile dysfunction is experienced in younger men will occur as a result of psychological causes. Such causes may include:
|Anxiety and stress||The most common cause of impotence in men under 40 is anxiety or performance-related stress. This is usually because of insecurities regarding their sexual ability and failing to perform. As the process of gaining an erection is entirely controlled by enzymes released by the brain, as are emotions and feelings, if enough anxiety or stress is experienced, it may well cause erectile dysfunction in young men.|
|Depression||Depression has an influence on many functions in the body. Research has shown that men who are depressed are twice as likely as men without depression to have impotence.||
|Lifestyle||Smoking, drinking and drugs have all been linked to impotence and other sexual problems.||
|Medications||Some medications, such as some anti-depressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications and muscle relaxants, can all result in an increased likelihood of a patient developing impotence.||
|Sexual trauma or abuse||Past sexual abuse, recent sexual trauma, problems with gender identity and sexual preferences can all affect how a man feels about sex, which can make impotence more of a possibility.||
Because such a large portion of the causes of early ED are psychological, most often men are recommended counselling or psychological support, especially if the cause is something severe like sexual abuse. If not, medical treatment can be an effective and safe form of management, providing the patient is over 18.
However, should you suffer from erectile dysfunction, you should always consult with your doctor about possible treatments. He or she will be able to advise you on the proper course of treatment.