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Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in men under 40 is on the increase. In 2013, a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that one patient out of every four (26%) diagnosed with ED is aged under 40. This may come as a surprise to many people as the condition is generally considered to be more prevalent amongst older men.
The study found that the younger men with ED had higher testosterone levels and lower body-mass indexes than the the older men. These are supposed to be indicators that someone is less likely to experience ED, but the study found this simply wasn’t the case.
So why are more young men experiencing ED? One possible reason is lifestyle factors. Smoking, stress from jobs or relationships, depression and other health conditions such as diabetes or neurological issues can all have an impact.
It’s thought that the chemicals in cigarettes affect the blood flow and neuro-signals to the penis, resulting in erectile dysfunction. Smoking can lead to cardiovascular problems, causing a build-up of plaque within the arteries that obstructs the flow of blood into the vessels. This leads to impaired circulation throughout the body.
Cardiovascular problems and erectile dysfunction are closely related. For this reason, ED is usually considered to affect older men, who may be experiencing other health issues. It is estimated that half of all men aged 40 to 70 will experience ED to some extent.
There are numerous lifestyle factors that can increase a young man’s risk of erectile dysfunction. These include feeling overwhelmed with stress from work, being unsettled in a relationship and general insecurity within yourself and where you’re at in life.
Psychological factors that affect the nervous system are thought to be the biggest culprit, while alcohol, recreational drugs and smoking are some of the other big contributors.
Young men may also feel insecure or inexperienced in the bedroom, leading to embarrassment and anxiety that can manifest as physical problems.
The good news is that, because most of these problems are lifestyle related, it’s possible to improve symptoms by avoiding drugs, drinking and smoking, reducing stress levels and getting enough sleep. Monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels, along with regular visits to the doctor for a check-up, will ensure the cardiovascular system stays healthy.
Carrying excess weight can put extra strain on the cardiovascular system, so it’s important to take moderate exercise – even 30 minutes a day can make a difference to overall health. Meanwhile, maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables will ensure a healthy body, encouraging better blood flow to the penis.
If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction problems, try seeking the advice of a sexual health expert who can help you work through any issues or feelings of anxiety that could be affecting your sexual performance. Alternatively, there are several treatments available for erectile dysfunction. Your doctor will be able to go through the various options and help you decide on the best course of action.