Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms: When To Worry

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Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team
Published on June 22, 2022

Many people associate erectile dysfunction with older or infirm people. However, it can actually happen to men at almost any age. By the age of 40, 40% of men will have experienced erectile dysfunction symptoms, rising further to 70% by the age of 70.

Knowing more about the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and what treatment options are available can help men feel comfortable in seeking help for the condition. It's, unfortunately, something that many still feel shame about. Nonetheless, there's no need to hide symptoms or avoid finding a solution.

It's important to understand erectile dysfunction better and understand how and where to find support. Here's a look at what the condition is and what symptoms to look out for.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction? 

Erectile dysfunction refers to the inability to keep an erection during sex. It's also formerly known as impotence. It can be used as an umbrella term for ongoing problems to do with male sexual performance.

Having trouble with erections every now and then isn't always a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue for you, it might be worth seeing your doctor about erectile dysfunction. 

Erectile dysfunction is more common in men than you'd think. The risk of experiencing it increases as you get older. For erectile dysfunction, age is an exacerbating factor, but it can start as early as in the teens.

Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms

While erectile dysfunction has largely physical symptoms, it can cause stress in men who suffer from it. It can also affect their self-confidence and even contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that may need treatment.

That's why it's vital to keep an eye out for warning signs. The sooner you can spot symptoms of erectile dysfunction, the sooner you can speak to your doctor and seek out treatment options.

With that in mind, here's a look at the key symptoms of erectile dysfunction that you should be aware of.

Trouble Getting an Erection

Performance issues in getting your penis erect are a common sign of erectile dysfunction.

Once men finish puberty, there can be some fluctuations in libido or the ability to get an erection. This is especially common after testosterone starts to decrease after the age of 35. However, a persistent problem spanning several months is not a normal development for most men and should be looked into.

Trouble Keeping an Erection

If you can get an erection but struggle to maintain it, this can also be a sign of erectile dysfunction. 

Erections usually fade away after a few minutes without stimulation or after orgasm when stimulated. If you experience something quite different from that when you haven't in the past, this could be a symptom of erectile dysfunction.

Reduced Sexual Desire

Intimacy issues can also be a warning of erectile dysfunction. You should be on the lookout for any changes to your usual pattern.

Remember that reduced sexual desire can be different for different people. If you have always had a low sex drive since you became sexually active, this might not be anything to do with erectile dysfunction.

Some people simply have a lower sex drive than others, so don't be concerned unless you notice a marked drop in your libido that is out of character for you.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms?

With so many men experiencing erectile dysfunction, there are various potential causes. Understanding those causes is vital for pursuing the right treatment for you.

Erectile dysfunction is usually solved or alleviated by treating the right cause. Here's a look at what those causes are before looking at what treatment options are available.

Psychological Factors

Erectile dysfunction symptoms can be caused by psychological factors, such as anxiety, depression, relationship issues, or even fear of erectile dysfunction itself. When there's too much pressure to perform, that can make it even harder for men to get or maintain erections.

What's more, feeling of inadequacy in other areas of life can also show up in the bedroom. For example, issues at work where men feel emasculated or powerless can be reflected in erectile dysfunction at home.

Associated Diseases or Conditions

There are a number of health conditions that erectile dysfunction can be a symptom or a side effect of. For example, men who have diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than men without diabetes.

Blood pressure is another condition that can result in erectile dysfunction. The following diseases and conditions can lead to erectile dysfunction:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Peyronie's disease
  • Injury from treatments for prostate cancer, including radiation therapy or prostate surgery
  • Injury to the penis, spinal cord, prostate, bladder, or pelvis
  • Surgery for bladder cancer

If you are already receiving treatment for any of those conditions, ask your doctor whether they believe it could be related. If you have not already been diagnosed with any of the above conditions, it may be worth looking into whether you have any other symptoms that could point to one of those diseases.

Side Effects from Some Medicines

Erectile dysfunction can also be a side effect of many common medicines. Your doctor should have mentioned whether erectile dysfunction may be caused by any medications you're taking, but any of the following medications may have erectile dysfunction as a side effect:

  • Blood pressure medicines
  • Antiandrogens, which are used to treat prostate cancer
  • Antidepressants
  • Tranquillizers, or prescription sedatives, including some sleeping pills
  • Appetite suppressants
  • Ulcer medication

All medications will come with certain side effects, so be aware of what unwanted effects may come along with your treatment for any of the above.

Erectile Dysfunction Associated with Social Habits and Behaviours

Some common lifestyle behaviours can result in erectile dysfunction. For example, smoking can disrupt the blood vessels that enlarge to create an erection. In fact, smoking can cause erectile dysfunction in men as young as 20.

Being overweight or not being physically active can also result in difficulties with erections, as it damages the blood vessels and lowers testosterone levels.

In addition, drinking too much alcohol or taking recreational drugs can also disrupt the flow of your body's natural processes and cause erectile dysfunction. Alcohol and some drugs slow down the signals between your brain and your body, making it hard to get or maintain an erection.

Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction

The most important thing to remember about treating erectile dysfunction is that it should always be tailored to the individual. Understanding the root cause of the issue is the first step, as that will usually be the route to alleviating symptoms.

For example, erectile dysfunction due to psychological factors will likely only respond to psychological treatment. Similarly, problems with erections caused by lifestyle habits will require behavioural changes.

Read more about other ED remedies:

There are erectile dysfunction drugs on the market that can assist with erectile dysfunction, but you should always seek advice from a qualified doctor before trying anything.

Remember that taking an unsafe or unnecessary medication that you don't need could cause more problems than it solves!

If you're already taking other medications and want a less chemical approach, some men find success by looking into natural erectile dysfunction treatment as well.

For some causes, there may not be a solution other than waiting it out. For example, if you need to be on a specific medication that happens to cause erectile dysfunction, it may be unavoidable in the short term.

However, if you're permanently taking medication that is causing problems with erections, you could ask your doctor if there are any alternatives. Do not stop taking your medication without an agreed alternative. 

Preventing Erectile Dysfunction from the Start

Thinking about the root causes of erectile dysfunction can help you avoid ED to start with. Avoiding alcohol can make sure this doesn't affect your erections.

Making healthy choices for your lifestyle is always a good foundation to build. Staying active can help reduce the risk of not just erectile dysfunction but also other conditions. This can subsequently result in erectile dysfunction.

Get Help for ED

Now that you understand the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, as well as what might be causing those issues, you'll know what to look out for if you ever experience something similar. 

Remember that erectile dysfunction is common among men and wholly treatable. You don't have to deal with this on your own either; there are plenty of people ready to help.

Are you worried that you might be experiencing erectile dysfunction? Schedule a time for a free consultation with one of our doctors today!



Disclaimer
This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.