- Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Young Men: Causes and Treatments
- Young Men and Erectile Dysfunction
- Is it Normal to Have ED in Your 20’s?
- Erectile Dysfunction is on the Rise (and it’s getting younger)
- ED in Your 20’s
- Why Do So Many Younger Men Have Erectile Dysfunction?
- It Was Tough Admitting Erectile Dysfunction at 19 Years Old
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Erectile dysfunction in young men
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in Young Men: Causes and Treatments
Side effects may include headache, flushing, vision changes, and upset stomach.
Alprostadil (Caverject, Edex) is a solution that’s injected into the base of the penis 5 to 20 minutes before sex. It can be used up to three times each week. However, you should wait at least 24 hours between injections.
Side effects may include pain and burning in the genital area.
Alprostadil is also available as a suppository for erectile dysfunction. It is sold as MUSE (Medicated Urethral System for Erections). It should be used 5 to 10 minutes before sexual activity. Avoid using it more than two times in a 24-hour period.
Side effects may include pain and burning in the genital area.
Men whose ED is the result of low testosterone may undergo testosterone therapy. Testosterone
is available in a variety of forms, including gels, patches, oral tablets, and injectable solutions.
Side effects may include moodiness, acne, and prostate growth.
Vacuum constriction devices
Other treatment options may be considered if medications aren’t entirely successful. Vacuum constriction devices are generally safe and effective.
The treatment involves placing a cylinder over the penis. A vacuum is created inside the cylinder. This leads to an erection. A band is placed around the base of the penis to preserve the erection, and the cylinder is removed. The band must be taken off after about 30 minutes.
Find one on Amazon.
A last resort for men with ED is the implantation of a penile prosthesis.
Simple models allow the penis to bend downward for urination and upward for intercourse. More advanced implants allow fluid to fill the implant and form an erection.
There are risks associated with this operation, as there are with any surgery. It should only be considered after other strategies have failed.
Vascular surgery, which aims to improve blood flow in the penis, is another surgical option.
Young Men and Erectile Dysfunction
Sep 06, 2017
If you pay attention to the media, you might think that erectile dysfunction (ED) happens only to older men. The ads for ED medications tend to show men with salt and pepper hair discussing how their improved erections helps them feel young again. Comedians may joke about an elderly man’s sex life – or lack of it.
It’s true that the chances of developing ED increase with age. Many medical conditions associated with ED, such as diabetes and heart disease, start occurring as men get older.
But did you know that ED affects a considerable number of younger men as well?
In 2017, Sexual Medicine Reviews published a study that focused on ED younger men. The authors estimated that just over half of men between 40 and 70 have erection problems to some extent. But younger men are still affected.
How many? Here are some research results the scientists shared:
- In a multinational study of almost 28,000 men, 11% of men in their 30s and 8% of men in their 20s had ED.
- A Swiss study of over 2,500 men between the ages of 18 and 25 found that around 30% of men had some degree of ED.
- An Italian study revealed an increase in ED in men under 40, with rates rising from 5% to 2010 to over 15% in 2015.
It’s important to understand that the severity of ED can vary. Some men with ED can’t get erections at all. Others have trouble occasionally. And others feel that their erections aren’t as firm as they’d like.
ED rates could be higher than reported, too. A lot of men aren’t comfortable discussing their erections with a doctor, so they suffer in silence. Some doctors might not realize that ED affects younger men and may not ask about sexual health.
Why Might Younger Men Get ED?
Age is a major risk factor for ED. So why might younger men get it?
The answer is complicated. ED can be caused by both physical and psychological issues, and sometimes there are a combination of factors involved.
The study authors discussed several possibilities:
- Vascular problems. A rigid erection depends on good blood flow to the penis. If anything obstructs that flow, such as plaque buildup in blood vessels, an erection might be difficult to achieve.
- Hormonal disorders. Conditions like diabetes, over- or under-active thyroid, Klinefelter syndrome, and others can interfere with erectile function.
- Nervous system disorders. Men with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, spinal cord injury, or other nervous system disorders may have trouble with erections because important messages from the brain can’t “connect” with the genitals.
- Medication side effects. Many medications, such as antidepressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), and antipsychotics have sexual side effects, including erectile dysfunction.
- Psychological and emotional concerns. Erectile dysfunction can also occur in men with depression and anxiety. Relationship issues can play a role as well.
- Smoking and illicit drug use. In another study, published in 2013 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, younger men with ED were more likely to smoke or use recreational drugs compared to their older counterparts. Marijuana in particular has been linked to erectile problems. The drug’s active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), interacts with proteins called cannabinoid receptors. This interaction can impair normal functioning in the brain. Research has shown that it may affect the penis as well.
Sometimes, these causes work together. For example, a man with diabetes may have occasional ED, but become so anxious about his ability to perform and please his partner, the ED becomes more frequent. Or, a man may be taking medication that causes mild ED, but the stress of a life event (such as losing a job) could make the ED worse.
Hints of Future Medical Problems for Younger Men with ED?
Younger men should know that ED is often a symptom of other medical conditions, like diabetes and heart disease.
As we mentioned above, a man needs good blood flow to his penis to have an erection. Blood is what gives an erection its rigidity.
But diabetes or heart disease can cause atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. When a man has atherosclerosis, cholesterol and other materials build up in his arteries, making it more difficult for blood to pass through. Atherosclerosis can happen anywhere, but because the penile arteries are so small, they’re often among the first to become blocked. As a result, less blood flows to the penis and erection problems occur.
ED is sometimes called a “sentinel marker” – a warning sign of other diseases that need to be addressed.
What Can Younger Men Do About ED?
If you’re having problems with erections, take it seriously. Talk to your doctor. If your ED is a symptom of another medical condition, start treatment. You might need to make some lifestyle changes or go on medication, but taking care of the situation now can help you enjoy more sex in the future.
Learn more about erectile dysfunction, its causes, and its treatment here.
Sexual Medicine Reviews
Nguyen, Hoang Minh Tue, BA, et al.
“Erectile Dysfunction in Young Men—A Review of the Prevalence and Risk Factors”
(Full-text article in press. Published online: June 19, 2017)
Counsel & Heal
“1 in 4 Young Men Suffer Erectile Dysfunction, Study”
(June 6, 2013)
“Erectile Dysfunction May Affect 1 In 4 Men Under 40 Seeking Treatment, Study Suggests”
(June 11, 2013)
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Capogrosso, Paolo, MD, et al.
“One Patient Out of Four with Newly Diagnosed Erectile Dysfunction Is a Young Man—Worrisome Picture from the Everyday Clinical Practice”
(Full-text. First published online: May 7, 2013)
Medical News Today
“Erectile Dysfunction Much More Common Among Young Men Than Previously Thought”
(June 9, 2013)
Sexual Medicine Reviews
Jackson, Graham, FRCP, FESC, FACC
“Prediction of Coronary Artery Disease by Erectile Function Status: Evidence-Based Data”
(Full-text. First published online: June 11, 2013)
Sexual Medicine Society of North America
“Marijuana and Erectile Dysfunction”
(May 31, 2011)
“Study Finds One in Four Patients with Newly-Diagnosed Erectile Dysfunction is a Young Man”
(Press release. June 6, 2013)
Is it Normal to Have ED in Your 20’s?
Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
Erectile Dysfunction is on the Rise (and it’s getting younger)
The American Medical Association (AMA) estimates that more than 30 million men in the US experience ED. And they expect that number to double by 2025, largely due to the fact that erectile dysfunction is affecting more and more guys in their 20’s and 30’s. ED in your 20’s is becoming more common, and that can signal some serious health risks to a growing number of young men.
ED in Your 20’s
A study of over 400 men showed that nearly 1 in 4 new cases of ED occurs in men under the age of 40. What’s worse, half of the young men in the study showed signs of “severe ED.” The study concluded that the cause of erectile dysfunction in young men was “lifestyle habits” like smoking and drug use.
Erectile dysfunction is your body’s “check engine light” because ED can be an early sign of serious health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or low testosterone. The blood vessels in the penis are smaller than other parts of the body. So ED symptoms often occur long before more serious problems like a heart attack or stroke. When an otherwise healthy man in his 20’s experiences ED, it’s cause for concern.
If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction in your 20’s or 30’s (or beyond), talk to a doctor as soon as possible.
Why Do So Many Younger Men Have Erectile Dysfunction?
Now that he no longer has ED, Mher attributed the surgery to helping drastically improve his life. He told Mic that when he was dealing with the condition, most of his partners would eventually break up with him “because they couldn’t understand” why he couldn’t sustain an erection — a complaint that’s common among younger men who struggle with erectile dysfunction.
“It definitely was a blow to my masculinity,” Francis told Mic. “It didn’t help that my wife at the time would say that I must be gay if I couldn’t keep it up for her.” Compounding the issue, if an erection doesn’t happen during a given sexual encounter, the man can obsess over it, inevitably creating pressure and making it difficult for him to become fully aroused during future encounters.
To avoid such conflicts, Hartzell said she usually meets with both the ED patient and their partner, to emphasize that “it’s not his problem, it’s their problem,” which means they both need to be part of the solution. She says this can be a “mind trip” for those who view erections as the sole measure of a partner’s desire for them, as Francis’ partner clearly did.
“I like to recommend that couples think outside the box,” Dr. Hartzell said. “Intercourse doesn’t always have to be the goal; look at sex as pleasure oriented vs. goal oriented.” She suggested couples incorporating oral sex and manual stimulation into their bedroom routine. She also advised couples to “have fun” with their sex lives by not adhering to a specific schedule or routine: One woman she works with, for instance, leaves her partner’s injection on her pillow as a subtle signal that she’s in the mood to have sex.
For Francis, who didn’t talk to any of his male friends about it because he didn’t think they’d understand, his first piece of advice for fellow ED patients was to know you’re not alone.
“There are millions of men out there experiencing the same problems,” Francis said. “Don’t be afraid to seek medical attention. At first you may be embarrassed to talk about it but once you take action you will be much happier.”
It Was Tough Admitting Erectile Dysfunction at 19 Years Old
More about ED
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Basics
- 7 Ways to Treat ED
- Erectile Dysfunction May Mean Heart Disease or Diabetes
- 2 Tips for Discussing ED With Your Sex Partner
I know a lot of doctors say it’s often a psychological issue—especially when ED happens in younger guys—but I don’t know. I want to say it is, because that means it’s something I can eventually fix with therapy. But the fact is that I’ve had this all my life, and that makes me think there’s a physical cause.
Next Page: After my experiences with the pills After my experiences with the pills, my doctor recommended that I see a urologist. Unfortunately, the first few urologists I called refused to see me because I’m not a 55-year-old with a heart condition. It was just the doctors’ policy. It was so hard to be turned away. I wondered if would be able to find any help at all.
When I finally found a urologist who would see me, sitting in the waiting room was a little uncomfortable. I was the only guy under 40. The doctor gave me a quick five-minute examination and said I might have leaky veins. Basically, the blood flows into my penis at a normal rate but leaves much quicker than it enters. He described a test where they give you an injection to achieve an erection and inject a dye so they can see the blood flow. Ironically, you have to take another medication to get rid of the erection.
But the doctor didn’t recommend the test and wouldn’t give me a clear reason. The whole experience left me wanting more answers, and I was turned off by how little time he spent talking to and examining me.
I’m planning to get a second opinion. Basically, his idea of a treatment plan was just to deal with it. And at my age, I know that I don’t have to accept that.
Jonathan is not his real name.
Surgical treatment for erectile dysfunction may include penile implants or vascular reconstructive surgery.
Vascular reconstructive surgery can be performed to improve blood flow to the penis. Penile implantation is a surgical procedure where malleable or inflatable rods are inserted into the penis. There are three forms of penile prostheses: semi-rigid prostheses, inflatable prostheses and self-contained prostheses.
- Semi-rigid prostheses involve the surgical implantation of a silicon-covered flexible metal rod that provides rigidity for intercourse.
- Inflatable penile prostheses involve the surgical implantation of two soft silicone or plastic tubes into the penis, a small reservoir in the abdomen and a small pump in the scrotum. A patient produces an erection with this prosthesis by squeezing the pump in the scrotum to move sterile liquid from the reservoir in the abdomen into the tubes. A valve moves fluid back to the reservoir to stop the erection.
- Self-contained inflatable prostheses consist of a pair of inflatable tubes inserted into the penis with a pump attached to the end of the implant and a reservoir located in the shaft of the penis.
- Learn more about penile implants as a treatment option for erectile dysfunction “
- Sexual Medicine Society: Sex Health Matters “
Scheduling an Appointment
Board-certified urologists staff The Men’s Clinic at UCLA and you can be assured you are getting an experienced physician performing your evaluation and procedure in a relaxed and comfortable environment. For more information and to schedule an appointment, please call the UCLA Urology Appointment line at (310) 794-7700.
Erectile dysfunction in young men
Dear Dr. G,
I am a troubled housewife and I am writing to you with some concerns I have with my husband. I am 28 and my husband is one year older. My husband and I had been seeing each other for almost one year before getting married. We were both not keen to engage in any sexual activities prior to getting married.
From day one after we got married, I noticed my husband could just managed to get erection for penetration, but the rigidity very quickly diminished half way through the business.
In the first three months, we both thought it was the stress of the wedding and setting up a household. As this persisted for so long, I begin to get worried.
I tried to talk to him about ED (Erectile Dysfunction). My husband denied he has ED, and said all guys face such problems in the beginning of the relationship and takes time to adjust. My husband also blames the stress at work that is making him tired. On several occasions, he also mentioned that I was not aroused enough and therefore causing him to wilt.
In recent months, my husband is also returning home later and avoiding sex. In fact, the last attempt we had was three months ago. Although I trust my husband explicitly, I sometime think he may have another relationship outside our marriage and does not find me attractive anymore.
I know it is unfair to put Dr. G on the spot for a third party, but I am just desperate as he is just unwilling to discuss the matter, let alone persuading him to see doctors.
Essentially, I would like to find out what constitute an ED? Does my husband have ED? How hard should the manhood be for penetration?
I also would like you to clarify whether it is possible at all for a young man like my husband to get ED? If so, what are the causes of the ED?
Lastly, what will be the impact on my husband if he continues to avoid medical attention for his condition?
Eagerly awaiting your response,
ED (Erectile Dysfunction) is defined as the inability to attain and/or maintain penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. ED is more common than many people realise. ED is said to affect one in five Malaysian men and is listed as one of the most common sexual health problems in Malaysia. Naturally, ED is considered to be affecting men of advancing age. In fact, some studies revealed ED is affecting 69.5% of Malaysian men above 40 years of age, but it’s an issue men find very difficult to discuss, regardless of age.
While ED is commonly viewed as a condition affecting the older men, the condition is becoming increasingly more prevalent in younger men. It is estimated about 30% of men below 40 years are finding it hard to achieve hardness in the bedroom. In a multi-centre worldwide study, involving more than 27,000 men from eight countries, ED prevalence of 8% among men aged 20–29 years and 11% among those aged 30–39 years were demonstrated.
Erection Hardness Score (EHS) is generally used as the barometer for penile rigidity. The optimal erection that men should strive to achieve to enjoy sex thoroughly is when the penis is completely hard, with the rigidity comparable to the cucumber (Although some may like to be described as man of steel). Any deficiency in the rigidity technically is ED, ranging from the sub-optimal erection comparable to banana that is just adequate, to the softness of tofu impossible for penetration.
Although many view ED as “just” a sexual health problem, ED is often associated with other co-morbid conditions including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, prostate diseases and depression, many of which have a number of the same vascular risk factors. Study has even proven that ED is a strong indicator of premature mortality, and precursors to cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes.
In the fast paced urban lifestyle, it is not uncommon for young men who face the challenges of work and family pressure, to encounter occasional obstacles to “rise to the occasion” in the bedroom. When the occasional failures turn out to be the regular norms, it is crucial to examine the hard facts of the causes and impact of the deficiency. The American President, Theodore Roosevelt, often considered a driving force for the progressive era, once said: “I think here is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of the head”. When Dr. G is put on the spot on why hard young men are going soft between the sheets, his response is: “There is one quality worse than the softness of the hard and that is the hardness of the ego head. It is usually a matter of time for the young hard ego heads to accept the softness of the other head needs hardening up!”