If you or your partner are concerned about sexual function or erectile dysfunction, in particular, know that you aren’t alone.
Most men are aware that they may begin to experience a decline in their sexual function as they get older.
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is just one form of sexual dysfunction that encompasses many issues that affect sexual intercourse.
Erectile dysfunction will typically worsen over time and can progress from a mild case to complete impotence if it’s left untreated. That’s why getting ED treatment quickly is important.
Most people wonder what age they have to worry about sexual dysfunction, but age isn’t the only risk factor.
If you have a risk factor for erectile dysfunction, it may be controllable.
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising can lower your chances of experiencing erectile dysfunction.
That will also lower your risk of other health problems that can cause ED or make it worse.
But, is there an average age that most people begin to experience erectile dysfunction?
We’ll take a look at that question and more in the article below.
What Is ED?
Getting an erection is a complicated process involving both physiological and psychological processes.
These processes have to act together for an erection to take place.
Erectile dysfunction is defined as regular difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection during sexual intercourse.
If you experience ED during sexual activity, know that it is usually treatable.
If you have other medical conditions like a low testosterone level, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or depression that is causing your ED, you can treat those conditions directly.
When those conditions are remedied, you may find that your sex drive returns, and you no longer experience ED.
After going over your medical history, they may also prescribe medications that treat ED specifically, like Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra.
What Age Does Erectile Dysfunction Start?
There’s not an official age where erectile dysfunction is more likely to happen.
However, sexual performance issues like erectile dysfunction typically affect men over the age of 40.
The prevalence of ED increases with age.
About 52% of men aged 40-70 have experienced ED.
Another study that examined over 2,700 men found that:
- 17% of men age 40–49 had ED
- 30%–35% of men age 50–59 had ED
- 68% of men 60–69 had ED
- 83% of men 70 and older had ED
Older men are more likely to have ED because they are more likely to have other health issues or chronic diseases that can impact things like blood flow to the penis and nerve functioning.
Age-Related Health Conditions and Risk Factors For ED
Some of the age-related health conditions that can increase your risk of developing ED are:
- Heart disease: Heart disease or cardiovascular disease refers to a collection of diseases related to the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is often the result of poor diet, smoking, obesity, and a lack of exercise. The most common cause of ED in men over 50 is a hardening of the arteries called atherosclerosis. When men age, the linings of their arteries become less flexible, so they can’t expand as easily to let blood flow to where it needs to go, like to the penis to produce an erection. High cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, restricting the blood flow to your penis.
- Hypertension: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is when your blood pumps through blood vessels more forcefully than it should. This can potentially damage or narrow the blood vessel walls. In addition to ED, this condition can lead to heart disease and stroke.
- Diabetes: Diabetes and high blood sugar can also damage the walls of a blood vessel, impeding blood flow.
- Anxiety and depression: ED isn’t “all in your head,” but it can be a mental health issue. Depression is a risk factor, along with other psychological conditions like anxiety disorders. Issues like relationship problems and performance anxiety can all cause ED and impotence. Emotional issues in a relationship can also lead to ED.
Erectile Dysfunction can also be a side effect of certain medications, like antidepressants or blood pressure drugs. If you’re experiencing ED, be sure to tell your healthcare providers about all the medicines you’re taking. They can adjust your dosage or substitute another medication.
Other lifestyle factors, like having excess weight or obesity, not getting enough exercise, smoking or using tobacco products, drinking excessively, and using recreational drugs, can also contribute to ED.
ED can also result from physical conditions where the body’s nerves are damaged or don’t function properly, such as nerve and spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis.
More often than not, losing weight and exercising regularly can improve blood flow and erectile dysfunction.
You can also quit smoking, improve your relationship with your partner, and practice healthy responses to stress, along with treating any underlying medical conditions.
It might take a little research on your part and some trial and error to figure out what works best for you.
But always talk to your healthcare providers so they can help you take care of any potential causes of your ED.
For cases of erectile dysfunction related to these issues, your ED specialist may prescribe one of the following:
- Medication. Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis are all medications prescribed for erectile dysfunction. However, patients on nitrates for heart disease cannot use these due to the potential of a severe drop in blood pressure.
- Acoustic Wave Therapy. This therapy uses low-intensity sound waves to stimulate the arteries and tissues in the penis to help improve blood circulation, allowing for the ability to get an erection.
- Vacuum erection device. These devices use a battery-powered vacuum to pull blood into the penis. A constriction band is also placed around the base of the penis to maintain the erection.
- Penile injection therapy. Penile injection therapy is also an ED treatment option. Injection therapy involves using a tiny needle to inject a small amount of medication directly into the penis each time the patient engages in intercourse.
Natural remedies for ED are increasingly available over the counter.
However, there’s not much scientific evidence that suggests that they work.
Some so-called remedies can produce side effects or react negatively with other medications.
Before you try an over-the-counter treatment, you need to consult with a medical professional.
Some of these natural remedies and supplements could even worsen erectile function in the long term, even if they seem to help in the short term.
Choice Men’s Health Can Help With Your Erectile Dysfunction
Even though no set age increases your risk of ED, your risk does increase the older you get.
This is due to naturally decreasing levels of testosterone and other health conditions that come with age.
But remember, testosterone and age aren’t the sole factors in achieving an erection. Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can go a long way.
Most causes of ED aren’t directly related to age but rather other underlying medical issues.
An experienced medical professional can determine the cause of ED with a blood test and physical exams.
You may even have multiple underlying causes.
Once your ED has been diagnosed, it can be treated so you can lead a happier, healthier life.
If you have questions about erectile dysfunction, Choice Men’s Health in Atlanta, Georgia, has been helping men enjoy a healthy sex life for years.