Erectile dysfunction is a very common condition which can affect men at any age. However, you’re more likely to have erectile dysfunction if you’re older. Erectile dysfunction is estimated to affect one in two men age 40 to 70, although it often only happens occasionally.
Regular or ongoing erectile dysfunction can take its toll on your confidence, your sex life or your relationships.
Erectile dysfunction is often the result of a physical cause. Erectile dysfunction causes include:
In some cases, erectile dysfunction causes are psychological, including:
Erectile dysfunction can usually be treated, often by treating any underlying physical or psychological conditions. In some cases, medication may be recommended, such as erectile dysfunction tablets.
The key symptom of erectile dysfunction is the inability to maintain an erection and experience satisfactory sexual intercourse.
You should always mention erectile dysfunction to your GP if you’re experiencing it. It can be a symptom of a serious health condition, such as heart disease or depression.
To check for underlying health conditions, your GP may carry out a range of physical tests, including:
Your GP may examine your penis and may also examine your rectum to check for prostate cancer.
In some cases, your GP may refer you to a consultant for further tests, diagnosis and/or treatment. If there’s a psychological reason for your erectile dysfunction, your GP may refer you to a psychologist.
Your GP will advise you about lifestyle changes to help relieve your erectile dysfunction. This may involve losing weight, stopping smoking and/or taking regular exercise.
There are also several specific erectile dysfunction cures. Your GP or consultant may suggest:
If your erectile dysfunction is caused by an underlying condition, your doctor will arrange the appropriate treatment for this condition.
If your erectile dysfunction is psychological, your doctor may refer you for counselling, sex therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).