It's common, curable, but could be indicating health problems, so it's a good idea to talk to your doc!
When it comes to ED, you’re not alone. More than 50 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 70 have experienced erectile dysfunction (ED) at some point in their lives. And it affects younger men, too: WebMD reports that the Grey Clinic, which specializes in erectile dysfunction, found that 17 percent of men between 18 and 55 experience occasional ED. In fact, up to 20 million Americans are dealing with it any time.
So what is ED? And at what point should you talk to your doctor about it?
What Counts as ED?
Simply put, erectile dysfunction is the inability to have or maintain an erection. Related symptoms or conditions may include reduced sexual desire, premature ejaculation or the inability to ejaculate.
What’s Causing My ED?
Nearly 75 percent of Ed cases have a physical cause, such as:
- Heart disease
- Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs
- Sleep disorders
- Certain prescription medications
It’s a good idea to see your doctor if you are experiencing ED to rule out possible physical causes. If you’ve ruled those out, keep in mind that your sexual arousal is a complex system that involves both the mind and body. Psychological factors—such as performance anxiety, stress, depression, or mixed feelings about a particular place, time or partner—can also play a role.
When should I see my doctor?
If ED happens occasionally, it’s probably no biggie - sporadic bouts can be caused by anxiety, stress or lack of sleep. Or it could be a side effect of alcohol or a medication you’re taking (always check the labels!)
If you notice that you’re having trouble getting or staying hard more regularly, or any related symptoms are popping up, it’s time to talk to your doctor.